Policy Recommendations Advance Civil Rights in Higher Education

Education News 07.10,19

10 Policy Briefs Would Ensure Equity and Improve Access

Contact: Kristen Voorhees, [email protected], 202.548.7166

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference Education Fund today released key recommendations for ways in which policymakers can protect civil rights through higher education policy. The 10 policy briefs, based on The Education Fund’s 2018 civil rights principles, articulate the changes needed to create a higher education system that offers meaningful equal opportunity and success for all students, particularly the historically marginalized.

“All students deserve a higher education system with equal access and support to help them succeed. Too often, policies and practices shut out our most marginalized communities, creating barriers to their success,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference Education Fund. “When these barriers persist, our nation’s increasingly diverse population is left behind. These concrete recommendations offer policymakers a way forward in advancing equity and protecting civil rights for all students.”

“Higher education remains a pivotal key to advancing economic and social opportunity in our country today. However, college affordability, barriers to enrollment and other systemic inequities have precluded African Americans and other marginalized communities from fully reaping the benefits of higher education,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Congress must address these inequities by ensuring civil rights protections are included in any reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to improve higher education outcomes for students of color.”

“At its core, the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) is a civil rights act. We cannot lose sight of maintaining and strengthening the HEA’s civil rights principles and ensuring that equity for Latinos and students of color remains at the center of higher education discussions, policy proposals, and legislation,” said Janet Murguía, president and CEO of UnidosUS. “Addressing the barriers that vulnerable student groups face in higher education is essential to upholding the promise of higher education as a path to the American dream.”

Exclusionary policies have created a higher education system in which lack of equal opportunity creates underrepresentation of communities. As a result, colleges and universities are denying marginalized students the opportunity for social and economic mobility, thus denying our nation the talents and skills of students who are left out. The Higher Ed Civil Rights Coalition, convened by The Leadership Conference Education Fund and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, promotes higher education policy and practices that advance equity and protects students’ civil rights. These policy briefs are informed by its knowledge, experience, and perspective of the communities it serves.

The full text of the policy briefs can be found here.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund will conduct a policy briefing call for media outlets on Thursday, July 11 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Learn more here.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit civilrights.org/edfund/.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit www.unidosus.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.