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Symposium to focus on "Quality Education" as a Constitutionally Protected Right, March 26-27 - Thursday, March 13, 2014

A symposium on "Quality Education as a Constitutional Right and the Role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will be hosted by the Southern University and A&M College System (SUS), the Southern University Law Center (SULC), and the SULC Journal of Race, Gender, and Poverty, in partnership with the Mississippi Freedom 50th Anniversary, Wednesday and Thursday, March 26-27, 2014.

This event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., March 26, in A. A. Lenoir Hall and 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. March 27, in the Royal Cotillion Ballroom of the Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union on the Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR) campus, as part of the SUBR Centennial Celebration.

The public premiere of PBS's American Experience documentary, "Freedom Summer," will be a feature of the symposium, with a screening at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, in the T. H. Harris Annex Auditorium at SUBR.

Although preceded by many decades of litigation, neither secondary nor postsecondary education in the U.S. has ever been elevated to the status of a constitutionally protected right, according to the symposium organizers. 

According to SU Law Center vice chancellor John Pierre, "As challenges continue to mount on many diverse levels, it is becoming increasingly evident that the concept of a 'quality education' needs to be re-defined and provided with legal safeguards."

"It is within this context that the symposium is being convened," Pierre said.

Legal practitioners, lawmakers, civil rights activists, HBCU students, policymakers, and administrators will explore how 'quality education' can be placed in the constitutionally protected arena, he said.

The symposium will offer panel discussions, workshops, plenary sessions, and case studies.  Topics will include:
     -  Accountability, Assessment: Act One and Act Two;
     -  The potential impact of a St. George breakaway school district on the East Baton Rouge Parish
           School System;
     -  Higher Education Affordability and For-Profit Universities;
     -  The Quest to Access Education by Persons of African Descent: An Historical Overview;
     -  Advancing Public Education in the South:  Past and Present;
     -  HBCUs and the Role They Play in Desegregation and Access to Quality Education at the
           Collegiate Level;
     -  The Gordian Knot and Black Colleges; and
     -  The Challenge to Access Quality Education: the New Orleans Case Study.

Featured speakers will include:  A. P. Tureaud Jr., an educational consultant, retired school administrator, son of the late New Orleans civil rights attorney A. P. Tureaud Sr., and first black undergraduate to enroll at LSU; Terron Ferguson, Fellow, Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, New York University Law School; Dr. Lottie Beebe, member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE); Dr. Albert Samuels, SUBR Department of Political Science; Barbara Ferguson, director of research on reforms; attorney Tracie Washington, Louisiana Justice Institute; Steve Monaghan and attorney Robert Hammonds of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers; David J. Dennis Sr., Southern Initiative Algebra Project; Derrick Johnson, State President, NAACP, Jackson, Mississippi; attorneys Ernest Johnson, State President of the Louisiana State Conference of NAACP, Alvin Washington, and Arthur Thomas, all of Baton Rouge; and other local and national education, legislative, and academic leaders.

Registration is free and no advance reservations are necessary. 

For more information, please contact, vice chancellor John Pierre, Institutional Advancement and Evening School, SULC, (225) 771-2552 or