U’s powell to head Ohio State race and ethnicity institute

Dylan Thomas

University law professor john a. powell will leave the University in January to lead a new research institute.

Powell, founder and current executive director of the University’s Institute on Race and Poverty, will head the Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the Americas at Ohio State University.

The new institute will study issues affecting the lives of minorities in the Americas, said powell, who prefers a lowercase spelling of his name. Powell said the institute will try “to change the whole structure of how people look at race.”

He said the institute will unite scholars, who will influence policy by providing others with a better understanding of racial dynamics.

The Ohio State Board of Trustees also appointed powell chairman in civil rights and civil liberties for the university.

Powell came to the University in 1977, when he received an international human rights fellowship to work as a consultant to the Mozambique government. He served as the national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union from 1987 to 1993.

Powell founded the University’s IRP in 1993 to study the combined issues of race and poverty. Powell said the institute only does things “we think will have an impact on real-life issues.”