FAIRBORN — Students can watch a real-life civics lesson when the Ohio Civil Rights Commission meets at Wright State University.
The five-member commission will hear two cases 9:30 a.m.-noon Thursday, March 16, in the Student Union Atrium. This event is sponsored by the Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center at Wright State.
The hearings are open to the public. Faculty members are asked to encourage their students to attend. Wright State is the only school in the area where the commission holds public hearings.
At the conclusion of the hearings, the commissioners will announce their decisions and invite audience members to ask questions or make comments.
The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing state laws against discrimination. The commission investigates complaints of unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and institutions of higher education. It also develops educational programs for students and other residents designed to help eliminate prejudice, its harmful effects and its incompatibility with American principles of equality and fair play.
Mike Bernstein, an attorney and lecturer in Wright State’s department of management and international business, said the hearings offer students an opportunity to see Ohio’s government in action.
“This is an opportunity to see one of the most powerful agencies in the state of Ohio actually at work, to see how they handle discrimination cases brought before them,” he said. “Those of us who work in this area strongly believe it is only through education that we’re going to eliminate discrimination in this country. And if we can educate people on what the law is and what is the right thing to do, which is part of this process, we can make a difference.”