Wright State students will get a front-row look into the work of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission when it holds hearings in the Endeavour Room of the Student Union on Thursday, April 5.
Beginning at 9:30 a.m., the students will hear a brief discussion of a case, followed by a hearing. At the end of each hearing, the commissioners will announce their decisions. Following the cases, at approximately noon, the commissioners will discuss the reasoning for their decisions and encourage students to ask questions.
The hearings are sponsored by the Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center under its director, Edward Twyman.
The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing state laws against discrimination. The commission investigates complaints of unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, institutions of higher education, credit and accommodations and many other areas. It also develops educational programs for students and other residents designed to help eliminate prejudice, its harmful effects and its incompatibility with American principles of equality.
J. Michael Bernstein, lecturer in the Department of Management and International Business in the Raj Soin College of Business and the coordinator for the event, said the hearings give students the opportunity to view the government at work.
“This is an opportunity to see one of the most powerful agencies in the state of Ohio actually at work, to see how they handle discrimination cases brought before them,” he said. “Those of us who work in this area strongly believe it is only through education that we’re going to eliminate discrimination in this country. If we can educate people on what the law is and what is the right thing to do, which is part of this process, we can make a difference.”
The commissioners, who serve on staggered five-year terms, include chair Lori Barreras and William Patmon III, Madhu K. Singh and Juan P. Cespedes.
Hubert said the commission is delighted to come to Wright State, which he said is well-known for promoting equality and supports research on the causes and effects of discrimination.
“This forum allows us to present real cases that demonstrate the complexity of discrimination and the harmful effects it has that are not often discussed in the classroom but are experienced in our everyday lives,” saidMary Turocy, director of public affairs for theOhio Civil Rights Commission. “We hope this experience will inspire a healthy discussion amongst students that serves to eliminate barriers to equality, promote diversity and encourage inclusion in our communities.”