A great deal of attention has been paid to racial affirmative action programs in higher education. The merits and legality of such programs have been debated in academic circles, political campaigns, media commentary and the Supreme Court. However, relatively little public or legal scrutiny has been devoted to college admissions preferences for the children of alumni.
In Affirmative Action for the Rich: Legacy Preferences in College Admissions, a new book edited by Century Foundation senior fellow Richard D. Kahlenberg, addresses the questions that stem from this issue.
John C. Brittain
John C. Brittain returned to legal academia in June 2009 as a professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law in Washington.
Before then, Brittain had been the chief counsel and senior deputy director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., a 45-year-old public interest legal organization started by President John F. Kennedy to enlist private lawyers to take pro bono civil rights cases.
Brittain, a veteran former law school dean at Texas Southern University in Houston, law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, and public interest civil rights lawyer with a career spanning 40 years with residences in four states, has served as the president of the National Lawyers' Guild, on the executive committee and the board of the ACLU, and legal counsel to NAACP at the local level and national office of the General Counsel. He received the NAACP's highest honor for a lawyer, the coveted William Robert Ming Advocacy Award for legal service without a fee.
He is a school desegregation specialist and one of the original counsel in Sheff v. O'Neill, a landmark case decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1996. He was frequently mentioned in the book The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial by Susan Eaton, an excellent chronicle of the Sheff case. In addition, Brittain is a part of a legal team that filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the NAACP in the People Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education (Louisville) school cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 concerning voluntary race-conscious student assignment plans. Further, he filed a friend of the court brief in the Connecticut adequacy finance lawsuit styled, "Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell" (pending in the Connecticut Supreme Court). In one other related area, Brittain has focused on the intersection between housing and school segregation, and the policies that contribute to the condition of structural poverty in low income and minority neighborhoods.
At the higher education level, Brittain was trained by his mentor, the late Professor Herbert O. Reid, the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Howard University, to pursue comparability and competitiveness for historically Black colleges and universities.
Finally, he has participated in the publication of two reports on judicial diversity.
Chad Coffman is the President of Winnemac Consulting, LLC. Winnemac specializes in the application of economics, finance, statistics, technology, valuation, and accounting principles in the areas of securities fraud damages, valuation, labor discrimination, antitrust, intellectual property and securities trading practices.
Coffman has over 12 years experience at directing and managing large and complex litigation consulting matters across a wide variety of disciplines. Prior to joining Winnemac, Coffman was a Principal at Chicago Partners, LLC. He has significant experience in managing analysis related to securities class actions, antitrust examinations and labor discrimination cases. Coffman has testified as an expert witness and has also acted as an independent expert in several mediations. Coffman has a bachelor's degree in economics from Knox College and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
Michael Dannenberg directs the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation. The program aims to advance education excellence and equity through extended learning time, improvements in teacher quality, and education finance reform.
Mr. Dannenberg is recognized as a national expert on the No Child Left Behind Act, federal education budget, college admissions, and student loan policy. He and his work have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times and Fortune magazine, and on CNN and CBS News's "60 Minutes" program.
Prior to joining New America, Mr. Dannenberg was Senior Education Counsel to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), where he had a significant role in drafting the No Child Left Behind Act, the Education Finance Incentive Grant program, and the Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act. In 2005, National Journal named him to the "The Hill 100" list of Congress' most influential aides.
Mr. Dannenberg is a 1998 graduate of Yale Law School and earned a Master's degree in Education Policy and Administration from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Boston University.
Richard D. Kahlenberg
Richard D. Kahlenberg is a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about education, equal opportunity, and civil rights. He is the author of four books.
Steve Shadowen is a partner at Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin.
Stephen Joel Trachtenberg
Stephen Joel Trachtenberg is President Emeritus and University Professor of Public Service at The George Washington University.