Michigan State University Interim President Teresa Woodruff to Keynote PuLSE 2023 Conference on Affirmative Action Sep 14

Dr. Teresa Woodruff, the interim president of Michigan State University, has been invited to be a keynote speaker at this year’s conference on Affirmative Action and Economic Justice organized and hosted by The PuLSE Institute, Detroit’s national and independent non-partisan anti-poverty think tank. 

The poverty-themed conference will be held virtually this year on Thursday, September 14, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 pm and will feature solution-oriented keynote presentations and cutting-edge about how to address the salient issues of poverty and inequality in urban America including Detroit, one of the nation’s largest Black cities, and one of the most impoverished in the country. 

Registration for the conference is now open on Eventbrite. 

The September gathering is the Institute’s annual racial and economic justice conference for policy makers, scholars, industry captains and community advocates working towards creating an ethical economy that guarantees equality for all.

The theme for the 2023 conference “Unfinished Mandate: Affirmative Action and the Call to Champion Racial Equity and Economic Justice” in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Affirmative Action, one of the crucial programs that came out of the Civil Rights Movement.

Woodruff, who previously served as MSU’s provost before being named the interim president of the East Lansing university, will discuss the high court’s adverse impact on Affirmative Action and what public universities must do to ensure racial diversity and inclusion in enrollment.

“From its inception, Michigan State University has endeavored to democratize higher education and make the dream of a college degree attainable to people of all backgrounds and experiences,” Woodruff said. “We value diversity and inclusion and believe Spartans benefit from a more diverse student body, faculty and staff, which prepares our students for post-graduation success and fosters a more welcoming society.”

Woodruff added, “That commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is undeterred by the recent supreme court decision and we will continue our fundamental approach to recruiting and retaining a broad and diverse student body and creating more opportunities for their success.”

Attorney Tina M. Patterson, the President and Director of Research at The PuLSE Institute said colleges and universities despite the court’s decision must ensure that the doors of opportunity are not shut on Black students.

“At The PuLSE Institute, we are honored to continue moving the needle forward by daring to confront and address the issues directly toward the ultimate goal of equality,” Patterson said. “That’s why it is important to ensure that our universities are not ignoring the mandate and promise of equality conveyed in Affirmative Action which is one of the most significant programs tailored to ensure racial justice.”

Bankole Thompson the nationally renowned Black journalist and a standard-bearer for racial and economic justice issues, whose longstanding and influential work on race, democracy and poverty led to the founding of The PuLSE Institute five years ago, said the conference will highlight the important work that needs to be done after the Supreme Court ruling. 

“The Supreme Court’s ruling on Affirmative Action is not the end of the road and we have to make sure that universities are not dropping the ball on Black and Brown students,” said Thompson, who serves as the executive dean of The PuLSE Institute, and is a twice-a-week opinion columnist at The Detroit News. 

Thompson, who was recently elected to the National Board of Directors of the historic Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the signature civil rights organization founded by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who served as its first president, and which led the Civil Rights Movement, said “Every college in the country is being challenged to devise an effective strategy around meaningful racial diversity and inclusion.”

DTE Chairman and CEO Jerry Norcia will also speak at The PuLSE Institute conference as is Erwin Chemerinsky, the internationally celebrated legal scholar and the dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, who is dubbed as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.

More speakers about next month’s conference will be announced in the days. For inquiries about the forum email info@thepulseinstitute.org.

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