What people say about Color and Money-

"Anyone interested in the inequities of the selective college admissions process will find Color and Money clear-eyed, hard-hitting, enlightening, and informative."--Rachel Toor, author of Admissions Confidential: An Insider's Account of the Elite College Selection Process.
"For those concerned about why the march toward social justice in America has faltered badly for nearly forty years, Peter Schmidt's Color and Money is a highly instructive--and greatly disturbing--guidepost." --Richard Kluger, author of Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality.
"An indispensible guide to the debate over affirmative action in the United States."--Michael Lind, author of The Next American Nation.
"This book is a must read for anyone concerned with access to higher education, especially to the nation’s elite universities, as well as with larger questions of social policy and social justice."--Terry MacTaggart, Former Chancellor, University of Maine System
"Books on the highly-charged issue of affirmative action are usually one-sided and inflammatory. Peter Schmidt's Color and Money is a wonderful exception. It provides an honest and fair examination that is also passionate and illuminating."--Richard D. Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation, and author of The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action

Peter Schmidt is available as a speaker

Peter Schmidt is available to speak at colleges, bookstores, schools, churches, and at gatherings of education associations. His past speaking engagements are listed at the bottom of this Web site. If interested in having him appear, e-mail him at schmidt_peter@msn.com. He also is available as an expert source for journalists covering affirmative action. Those on a tight deadline should email him at peter.schmidt@chronicle.com.

Hear interviews with Peter Schmidt

Jack Lessenberry of Michigan Public Radio talked to Peter Schmidt about Color and Money in August. You can hear the interview here. Reading the book inspired Jack to write an essay on it, which you can read here. You also can hear Peter Schmidt talk about his book on the NPR program Justice Talking and in a Chronicle of Higher Education podcast.

Color and Money Is a College Course!

Many college professors are now using Color and Money in their classes, but Jack Dougherty, the director of the educational studies program at Trinity College in Connecticut, has gone a big step beyond. He has decided to name a freshman seminar "Color and Money" and to structure the class around the book. He has graciously agreed to share his syllabus, available here, for faculty members at other colleges who may have the same idea.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Will colleges' diversity budgets soon come under attack?

Reprinted with permission from The Chronicle of Higher Education

From the issue dated February 2, 2007

Diversity-Program Administrators Fear Challenges to Their Spending

Many college administrators who gathered here last week for a national conference on educating black students said they saw a new threat to their programs emerging from a libertarian group's recent efforts to demand a strict accounting of expenditures on diversity by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

In a report released the week before, the Independence Institute, a research organization based in Golden, Colo., alleged that the state's flagship university had little idea how much money it spends promoting diversity and poorly manages such expenditures. University officials denied that they were spending any such money wastefully, but two Republican state representatives in Colorado have cited the report in calling for the state auditor to thoroughly examine the university's diversity expenditures.

News of the Colorado development distressed, but hardly surprised, many of the nearly 170 college administrators, faculty members, and admissions counselors who subsequently gathered here for Clemson University's Fifth National Conference on Best Practices in Black Student Achievement.

Although several participants said they had grown accustomed to justifying their affirmative-action efforts and felt confident they would be able to account for every dollar spent on diversity programs, others said they worried that colleges were ill prepared to defend such efforts against those demanding that they be subjected to a strict cost-benefit analysis.

The prospect of colleges' being asked to account for every dollar spent on diversity is "something to think about, maybe even sweat about," said an administrator from a public university in Indiana.

One of the conference's featured speakers, Damon A. Williams, the University of Connecticut's assistant vice provost for multicultural and international affairs, said he saw the Independence Institute's efforts to scrutinize university spending on diversity as representing "the next wave" of attacks on affirmative action. He said he had responded to news of the institute's report by sending letters to three major national higher-education organizations, which he declined to name, urging them to mobilize colleges elsewhere to defend themselves against similar scrutiny.

"I think many institutions are greatly at risk," Mr. Williams said. Colleges have only in the past few years begun documenting the benefits of diversity, he said, and while they generally can make good arguments that the diversity programs serve a valuable purpose, they have not done enough to track the money spent on such efforts and their results.

Fear of Paralysis

Jessica Peck Corry, director of the Independence Institute's Campus Accountability Project, said last week that she found it "disheartening" that college administrators would see her organization's demand for financial accountability in diversity programs as an attack on the programs themselves.

"This has nothing to do with affirmative action," she said. "This has to do with fiscal policy." She said she had hoped colleges and her organization could find common ground in their desire to make sure diversity programs "are getting the best bang for their buck."

It is also the case, however, that the Independence Institute has challenged the legality of some of the University of Colorado's affirmative-action efforts, criticizing its past practice of reserving some workshops and classes solely for members of minority groups. Its most recent report similarly criticized minority-oriented programs that the institute perceived as promoting racial and ethnic separatism.

Richard Bayer, dean of enrollment services at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, said he saw the inquiry about diversity spending at Colorado as part of a broader movement to demand accountability of higher-education institutions. "To some degree I think it is going to have an impact on diversity on campus," he said. "It makes you stop and think very carefully about how you are spending your dollars, and are you making a difference."

"Every time we try to do something, there is a group that is challenging what we are doing," Mr. Bayer said. "We are going from analysis to, almost, paralysis."

Some administrators who expressed the most confidence in their ability to defend their diversity expenditures were those from states in which affirmative action has come under the most intense scrutiny. Karen Eley Sanders, assistant provost and director of academic support at Virginia Tech, said being the subject of past investigations by the Virginia-based Center for Equal Opportunity had left her institution at a point where "I think we can account for what we are doing with our dollars."

Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor for campus-community relations at the University of California at Davis, said a ban on affirmative-action preferences, approved by voters in that state in 1996, had forced his institution to restructure its diversity programs in ways that may have made them less vulnerable to attacks on their spending.

Rather than operating stand-alone programs focused on specific racial or ethnic groups — an approach that he sees as most exposed to auditors' scrutiny — his campus has incorporated diversity into its basic mission and broadened its diversity programs to include a wide range of populations, he said.

Section: Government & Politics
Volume 53, Issue 22, Page A20