Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights to Kickoff Speaking Series at University of Maryland Law School

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The U.S. Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali will launch the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) first in a three-stop speaking series on Thursday, April 14, to commemorate civil rights milestones throughout the history of the United States' public education system. The three-stop series will highlight civil rights enforced by OCR, including Title VI, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin, Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on gender under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires school districts to provide a "free appropriate public education" to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.

The first event will take place at the University of Maryland School of Law in recognition of the school’s Diversity Week. Ali will serve as the 2011 Thurgood Marshall Lecturer and speak on the landmark Title VI case, Murray v. Maryland, in which Thurgood Marshall argued on the principle of ‘separate but equal.’ Her remarks will highlight diversity efforts, and the work OCR does to vigorously enforce Federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color or national orgin, which will, in turn, increase equal access to opportunities in education.