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.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Survey of College Professors Reveals Mixed Feelings on Affirmative Action in Admissions

A major study of faculty attitudes released last month has been billed in an article by David Glenn of The Chronicle of Higher Education as "arguably the best-designed survey of American faculty beliefs since the early 1970s." It's doubtful that the study's findings will offer much comfort to advocates of affirmative action in academe.

Of those college instructors who expressed an opinion of affirmative action in college admissions, only a very slim majority--50.7 percent--support it. Moreover, that 50.7 percent figure was arrived at by adding to the 11 percent who strongly favor it another 39.7 percent who only favor it somewhat.

On the other side, 17.4 percent of the college instructors expressing a view on the matter said they strongly oppose affirmative action in admissions, while 31.9 percent said they oppose it somewhat.

Considering that only 9.2 percent of college instructors in the survey were classified by the researchers as conservative, and just 20.4 percent voted for George W. Bush in 2004, it appears that opposition to affirmative action in the professoriate transcends political party and stretches well into the ideological middle ground.

On other questions related to race, most faculty members leaned further left. Among some key findings of the study conducted by the sociologists Neil Gross of Harvard University and Solon Simmons of George Mason University :

  • 84.6 percent agreed with the assertion that a lack of educational opportunities is a cause of racial inequality between blacks and whites.
  • 53.6 percent cited ongoing racial discrimination as a cause of racial inequality
  • 18 percent agreed with the assertion that "most African Americans just don't have the motivation or will power to pull themselves out of poverty."
  • Excluding respondents who expressed no opinion on the matter, 28.2 percent strongly agreed that the racial and ethnic diversity of the nation should be more strongly represented in the undergraduate curriculum, while 43.5 percent agreed somewhat, 21.3 percent disagreed somewhat, and 7.1 percent strong disagreed.
One of the study's other findings is of interest in light of the furor that former Harvard president Lawrence Summers aroused by speculating that differences in ability might explain the paucity of female math, science, and engineering professors. When asked their own take on why there are so few women teaching college students in those fields, 24.5 percent who answered the question blamed discrimination, 1 percent blamed differences in ability, and 74.5 percent expressed the belief that it is because men and women have different interests.

Can You Get Sued for Fighting Those Who Fight for "the Fighting Sioux"?

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the University of North Dakota has found a new category of people deemed in need of protection from discrimination: students who want to keep the university's Fighting Sioux nickname.

In a September 24 memorandum to five top administrators of the university, Sally J. Page, UND's affirmative action officer, warned that academic departments and programs that publicly oppose the nickname may be creating an unwelcome environment for those students who like it, and may be setting the university up for federal civil-rights lawsuits from fans of the nickname who feel discriminated against for their support of it.

What prompted the memo was a Sept. 22 ad in the Grand Forks Herald, signed by four university departments and about 20 university programs, urging that the controversial nickname be dropped. The Chronicle story on the controversy (available to regular subscribers and temporary pass buyers here) quotes several faculty members who oppose the nickname as offensive to American Indians as shocked they would be the ones being accused of possible discrimination.