Speaker to address affirmative action


Though the United States now has its first black president, and more minorities are present in the work force than ever before, affirmative action is not dead, said Susana Valdovinos, director of Academic Personnel.

At 7 tonight in the Hemisphere Room of Hale Library, Mark Peterson, author, associate professor and head of Washburn University’s political science department, will present a lecture discussing the effects of affirmative action.

The lecture, titled “Arthur Fletcher: What Would the Father of Affirmative Action Think of his Child Today?”, will delve into the life and work of Arthur Fletcher, a former Topeka resident, who has been called the “father” of affirmative action, and the effect the policy has had on U.S. history.

“There are many misunderstandings about what affirmative action is and what it is not,” Valdovinos said. “There is a feeling that because we have a black president, we don’t need affirmative action anymore or because we see more diversity in the work place, we do not need affirmative action anymore, and that is not exactly the way things are.”

Peterson is scheduled to present as the 31st speaker of the Dorothy L. Thompson Civil Rights Lecture Series, which continues to bring in people to speak on civil rights.

“It is important for students to know that they should not be resentful of affirmative action and to know what it does to the work force as well as the environment in the United States,” said Valdovinos, current member and past chair of the series.

Thompson was the first affirmative action director at K-State, which Valdovinos said, makes today’s lecture even more special.

“Dr. Peters recently published a book about Arthur Fletcher and because Fletcher has a connection to Kansas — because he was in fact a Topekan — that is something that makes our connection to the father of affirmative action a little bit stronger.”

The lecture will be free and open to the public.