The Pulse

UNC program to spotlight affirmative action in admissions, abortion in public discussion series

By: - January 12, 2023 10:00 am

UNC Chapel Hill’s Program for Public Discourse will begin 2023 with public discussions of  affirmative action in university admissions and abortion – two divisive social issues, one now before the Supreme Court and the other a renewed battleground in state legislatures, including North Carolina’s.

In late October the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in cases over affirmative action in admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill and Harvard University, the nation’s first publicly funded university and its oldest private university respectively. In arguments lasting nearly six hours the court’s new conservative majority gave the impression they are leaning toward plaintiffs fighting to end the practice, with potential broad consequences for university diversity programs of all kinds.

A ruling is expected this month or early next. The February 24 panel discussion on the topic, part of the Abbey Speaker Series on the topic, should be timely.

The in-person discussion,  to be held at 3 p.m. at the Carolina Union Auditorium, will be moderated by  UNC Law Professor Ted Shaw, director of the Center for Civil Rights. Panelists will include Glenn C. Loury, Merton P. Stoltz Professor of Economics at Brown University; John McWhorter,contributing writer at The New York Times and associate professor of linguistics at Columbia University and Rachel F. Moran, Distinguished and Chancellor’s Professor of Law at UC Irvine.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program for Public Discourse will host a panel discussion on affirmative action in university admission Feb. 24. Panelists, from left to right: Glen C. Loury, John McWhorter and Rachel F. Moran

More on that discussion, including registration information, here.

In March, the Abbey Speaker series will tackle faith and abortion – an always divisive topic give new urgency with the Supreme Court’s conservative majority’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Regulation of abortion is now the subject of revitalized political battles in both congress and state legislatures, with North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders indicating they will push new restrictions in the current legislative session.

The March 22 discussion, to be held at 5:30 p.m. at a venue to be determined, will also be livesteamed online. Mara Buchbinder, professor and vice chair of the department of social medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, will moderate. Panelists will include: Maharat Ruth Friedman, clergy at Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue (OSTNS); Lauren W. Reliford, political director for Sojourners and Leah Libresco Sargeant, author and public discourse chief of staff at Better Angels.

The panel discussion on faith and abortion will feature, from left to right, Lauren W. Reliford, Maharat Ruth Friedman and Leah Libresco Sargeant.

More on that event, including information on how to register, here.

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Joe Killian
Joe Killian

Investigative Reporter Joe Killian's work examines government, politics and policy, with a special emphasis on higher education, LGBTQ issues and extremism.