Kenneth L. Marcus, Ackerman Visiting Professor of Equality and Justice in America at Baruch College
Kenneth L. Marcus, Ackerman Visiting Professor of Equality and Justice in America, has had a long career in the area of civil rights and civil liberties. He served as staff director for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (2004-2008) and as the assistant secretary of education for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education (2002-2004) prior to taking up his current assignment at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs. Baruch is Marcus’s first foray into teaching at a higher education institution, and it’s proving to be a worthwhile and successful venture. “The students are wonderful, my colleagues are sharp, and I get to talk about subjects I’m passionate about,” he says. One of these subjects is the disturbing resurgence of anti-Semitism in the 21st century, something that Marcus says is being felt in the United States as memories of WWII recede and Holocaust deniers like Iranian President Ahmadinejad peddle warped views of history. This controversial issue is being explored in Marcus’s seminar “Anti-Semitism and Civil Rights Policy,” which he is teaching this semester at the School of Public Affairs. Marcus, who also taught a course on Diversity Management last year, notes that religious discrimination was never included in the landmark Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964, an anomaly that has at times made it difficult to prosecute acts of religious bias.
Marcus is a longtime resident of the D.C. area, where he is affiliated with the Institute for Jewish and Community Research. He continues to reside there, commuting to Baruch a few days a week. “It was a challenge at first,” he says, but he has adjusted. The biggest downside of the trek to New York City, he says, is that it takes him away from his adorable three-year-old daughter, Shoshana.