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May 12, 2008

Kimberly Purdy Wins Sovereignty Symposium Writing Competition

Graduating 3L Kimberly Purdy was recently notified that she won first place in the Sovereignty Symposium XXI Chief Justice John B. Doolin Writing Competition.  The competition was sponsored by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission, the Sovereignty Symposium, Inc., and the Oklahoma Arts Council. 

Ms. Purdy’s article is titled, “Race, Blood and Politics:  The Convoluted Relationship of Indians, Tribes, and Affirmative Action in Public Universities.”  She describes the paper as follows:

“During the 1994-95 term, the Supreme Court severely curtailed the ability of government actors to create preference programs furthering equal access and opportunity.  The import is grave, as only one purposeful, racial or ethnic classification has survived strict scrutiny in the last 60 years.  This stringent approach has called into question the continued vitality of preferential programs, such as affirmative action, engendered to redress past discrimination and accord minorities greater access to education and jobs. However, for Indians, there may be a window in the newly restructured equal protection barrier.  The product of a convoluted, inconsistent and often heartbreaking history of subjugation and colonization; Indian tribes have a special relationship with the federal government and the states.  This relationship, founded on treaties and agreements, may serve to except them from the curtailment of preference programs.  For public universities striving to increase ethnic and political diversity on their campuses and in their faculty, this tiny window of hope may give them the tools they need to embrace tribes within their borders and beyond.  This paper examines this unique relationship and argues that public university programs designed to recruit and retain federally recognized Indian tribes should be exempted from strict scrutiny.  Likewise, even if strict scrutiny applies, this paper offers unique reciprocal options that public universities can employ to encourage Indian student attendance without falling victim to the specter of a strict scrutiny analysis.”

The Sovereignty Symposium will be held June 4 and 5, 2008, in Oklahoma City.  Ms. Purdy’s article will be published in the Symposium’s 2008 compendium.

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