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The Institute for the Study of Academic Racism (ISAR) at Ferris State University is a non-profit educational foundation that acts as a resource service for students, academics, journalists, legislators and civil rights activists.
ISAR monitors changing intellectual trends in academic racism, biological determinism, and eugenics. ISAR's investigative work has resulted in feature articles in such prominent newspapers and magazines as the New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Science Magazine. ISAR staff have worked with Congress and the Justice Department as well as national civil rights organizations. The institute promotes research in academic racism by posting extensive bibliographies and maintaining an on-line archive of primary and secondary sources.
The Institute encourages an activist approach to understanding. It challenges students to advance the cause of social justice by countering the intellectual and ideological foundations of prejudice. ISAR's goal is to engage students in projects that result in both a lasting contribution to human knowledge as well as real and immediate social change. One such project organized by students at the University of Hawaii -- a study of Stanley Porteus (1883-1972), a psychologist and academic advocate of segregation and apartheid, resulted in a unanimous vote by the UH Board of Regents in April, 1998 to de-name Porteus Hall. The project involved an educational campaign aimed at the campus community as well as the creation of an on-line archive of permanent historical value. Students learned not only academic and political skills, they learned how to use their academic skills to bring about real social change.
In 1991, ISAR director and founder, Dr. Barry Mehler, presented a report on the international eugenics movement at the Winston Institute's International Congress on Discrimination and Conflict in Jerusalem, Israel. In 1993, ISAR presented a report on 'Race, Law and the Political Process' to the National Executive Committee of the Anti-Defamation League. In 1994, ISAR helped prepare the 'Final Report of the McIntosh Commission on Fair Play in Student-Athlete Admissions' which was submitted to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Competitiveness, chaired by then Congresswoman Cardiss Collins. In 1997, ISAR's report on psychologist Raymond B. Cattell was the subject of extensive comment in the international press.
Dr. Mehler, a professor of Humanities at Ferris State University and an internationally recognized expert on modern academic racism, has focused his work on the intellectual and ideological foundations of modern racism and the academic networks of racist scholars. His focus is on the work of individual professors, institutions, and professional networks which foster prejudice against groups.
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