October 29, 2019 • 12–2 PM ET

Anti-Diversity Complaints:  Understanding and Responding to Challenges Against Higher Education Diversity Programs and Policies

Many institutions of higher education utilize an array of programs and policies in pursuit of diversity and inclusivity on campus.  Such programs and policies extend beyond the consideration of race in admissions to focus on gender, ethnicity, national origin, and other protected categories through pipeline, outreach, recruitment, scholarship, and retention initiatives, as well as diversity, anti-harassment, and sexual misconduct policies.  However, such methods aimed at achieving diversity have increasingly attracted litigation by third parties and investigations by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.  Understanding the relevant legal and regulatory framework, assessing your existing diversity and inclusion infrastructure, and advising on specific approaches to mitigate risk are key to designing and implementing compliant programs and defending investigations and challenges.

This webinar will include the following:

  • A review of the history and issues underlying increased scrutiny of higher education diversity programs and policies
  • Discussion of the relevant caselaw and regulatory developments as well as recent OCR investigations and resolution agreements
  • An overview of specific approaches to mitigate risk at your institution and address challenges waged against diversity programs and policies:
    • The Discussion Between Counsel and Diversity Stakeholders
    • Internal Audit of Diversity Programs and Policies
    • Demystifying the “Pool and Match Method”
    • Considerations for Potential Inquiries and Investigations by OCR and Others

Who Should Attend

This webinar will be of interest to in-house and outside counsel to colleges and universities, as well as administrators in the Office of the Provost, Diversity/EEO Office, Title IX Office, Admissions Office, and others with responsibilities related to the various diversity and inclusion programs and policies on campus.

Program Schedule

12:00 P.M. ET

I.     Welcome, Introduction of Speakers, and Agenda 

II.     History and Current State of the Issue 

III. Legal and Regulatory Framework and Recent Enforcement Developments 

IV.     Questions and Answers 

V.     Tangible Approaches to Mitigating Risk and Defending Programs and Policies 

VI.     Questions and Answers 

2:00 P.M. ET

V.     Conclusion


Vannesa Martinez Cecchini

Josh Richards


Vannesa Martinez Cecchini joined Yale University’s Office of the Vice President and General Counsel in July 2012.  She maintains a broad practice, with a primary focus on labor and employment matters and ...

Josh Richards Headshot
Josh Richards is a partner at the Philadelphia office of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, where he is the Vice-Chair of the firm's Higher Education Practice which has handled hundreds of matters involving ...



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