The University Record, April 12, 1999

EEOC's Igasaki to discuss state-level anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives

By Joel Seguine
News and Information Services

Paul Igasaki, vice chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), will speak on "State Ballot Initiatives and the Elimination of Affirmative Action" at 3 p.m. April 23 in the Kuenzel Room, Michigan Union. The free, public event is sponsored by Dialogues on Diversity.

Igasaki initially was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate in 1994. In January-October 1998, he served as acting chair and was confirmed for a second term as vice chair Oct. 21, 1998. Igasaki is the first Asian American to serve in these positions at the EEOC.

Igasaki is the architect of the agency's strategy for handling charges more efficiently and zeroing in on cases that will have the greatest impact on job discrimination. His team's recommendations led to an overhaul of the EEOC's case processing and the creation of a National Enforcement Plan. "Our new strategic approach has resulted in a reduction in charge inventory of over 50 percent and the prosecution of egregious cases of discrimination, such as our lawsuit against Mitsubishi Motors of America," Igasaki says.

As acting chair, Igasaki sought support for and saw the approval of the administration's historic FY 1999 budget increase for the under-funded agency.

"Paul Igasaki's presentation could hardly be more timely," says law Prof. Terrance Sandolow. "Michigan is already the venue of a lawsuit that is likely to produce a leading decision on the constitutionality of minority preferences. It may soon also become the site of a major contest to determine the level of public support for such policies," Sandalow says.

Prior to his appointment to the EEOC, Igasaki was executive director of the Asian Law Caucus, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization. He also served as Washington, D.C., representative of the Japanese American Citizens League, a national civil rights organization, working on such issues as the Civil Rights Act, immigration reforms and funding for the Japanese American redress program.

As community liaison with the City of Chicago's Human Relations Commission, Igasaki provided management and legal counsel to the city's civil rights agency and served as Mayor Harold Washington's liaison to Asian American communities.

An attorney in California and Illinois, Igasaki holds a J.D. from the University California, Davis, and a B.A. from Northwestern University.