News Column

Corner Office: Diversity Benefits All

Aug. 27, 2008

Jesús Chavarría--Editor & Publisher, Hispanic Business Magazine

Jesús Chavarría--Editor & Publisher, Hispanic Business Magazine
Jesús Chavarría--Editor & Publisher, Hispanic Business Magazine

In a relatively short time our annual diversity issue, published this September only for the sixth time, has gained a solid reception among the HispanicBusiness Media audience. Staff and administrators at Best Schools--Medicine, Law, Engineering, Business--respond with keen interest to our information solicitations. Indeed, we have been surprised at the level of interest in the Best Schools stories, even at the dean and president levels at colleges and universities.

Ardor for the Best Companies story is also evident, and we have obtained extraordinary levels of cooperation from participating companies. This is striking because it was not always so. The level of information disclosure has been impressive in recent years; something that would not have happened, say, 10 years ago. Heads of corporate diversity programs in a variety of industries release countless proprietary metrics, which allow us to measure impacts of diversity policy and best practices.

The result? We have attained a level of quantitative data that begins to put some flesh on the bones of diversity, notwithstanding the winds blowing in other directions.

We are aware that Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska will be voting in November on anti-affirmative action ballot measures designed to undo policies and legislation ensuring equal opportunity and protection of the civil rights of people of color. Petition drives to place such measures on the ballot failed in Oklahoma and Missouri.

Inevitably there's going to be an ebb and flow to achieving progress regarding complex social issues.

Still, it appears the pendulum is moving in the right direction. As one of the most informative pieces in this issue clearly states: ". . . in the University of Michigan cases [argued before the U.S. Supreme Court], more than 65 leading American businesses, including American Express, Boeing, Coca- Cola, Merck, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Pfizer and Xerox, expressed the view that there are significant social benefits to diversity in higher education."

The article was written by Brigida Benitez, a partner with the law firm of WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. Ms. Benitez was counsel to the University of Michigan in the landmark diversity cases heard by the Supreme Court.

From where will the future human capital of the U.S. come, if not from the country's rising numbers of people of color? After all, the fastest growing segment of the population is the country's minority populations. So there you have the nub of this fourth annual issue featuring Best Schools and Best Companies.

Source: (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

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