While it cannot be said that they disagreed with one another, to be sure, each “producer” ventured several theories accounting for Brown’s significance.  
  Fowler saw Brown’s promise as a mandate for equality that has not been fully realized in all publicly supported domains of the realm with which she is most familiar—education.  
  But for Ulen, the decision’s promise was in fact its great achievement: because it outlawed the racial segregation of public accommodations by overturning Plessy v. Ferguson, it was a moment of considerable import in the realm of his expertise—law.  
  Interestingly, Nancy Cantor’s assessment of Brown’s promise incorporated both Fowler’s and Ulen’s evaluations of Brown’s legacy. While she acknowledged the legal and social values of the decision, she took pride in the part played by her scholarly domain—social psychology—in moving the justices to a unanimous decision. She also recognized that desegregation in the wake of Brown’s mandate has not produced the practical justice imagined by those who pressed the court to decide for the Brown plaintiffs, in part because social institutions, including universities, are slow to change. (Chapter 2)  
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  Dean Susan Fowler  
  Susan Fowler claimed a personal stake in the Brown decision. She earned her teaching certification in 1974, and her first assignment was in a preschool class of special needs children. As Nicole reported, it disturbed Fowler that “by the age of seven or eight years old, children with special needs were forced to enter residential programs at state hospitals, having to live without their families if they wanted to receive more education.” Fowler continued: “I guess I had a social justice pulse in me at that time because I can conceive of nothing worse than children not being able to go to their neighborhood school.” Two years after she began teaching, Public Law 94-142 was enacted, mandating that students with a variety of special needs should have access to appropriate education: this law “had a direct impact on me,” Fowler said, “because I was teaching those kids, and I no longer had to send them away to a state residential program for them to go on into school.” Reflecting on her own studies in developmental psychology and special education, Fowler described how she came to understand that the Brown decision provided a foundation for all subsequent civil rights law insofar as it “said that it was discriminatory to provide any kind of separate accommodations or separate educational arrangements, whether it was for children with disabilities or for girls who were athletic.” (Chapter 2)  
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  Professor Thomas Ulen  
  Although he said his opinion of Brown as legal precedent had not changed substantively over the years, recent analysis of the decision’s legacy left him “really stunned at the extent to which I now see a pattern of things having occurred since 1954 and up to the present that has been very instructive.... I’ve been struck by the fact...that there is a great deal of unfinished business.” Despite this awareness, Ulen stressed that he didn’t “feel pessimistic” about what must be accomplished, although “there has been at various points in the year a tone of pessimism that I must say I find discouraging about the advances that have occurred since 1954.” In contrast, Ulen reflected, “I must say I feel mildly—well not mildly, more than mildly—optimistic about the future. I think we’ve made great strides. It doesn’t mean that all the problems are behind us, but we’ve made great strides. . . I think a proper way to look at this is: we’ve accomplished a great deal in fifty years, we had a 300-year history before us, before Brown, of racial slavery and hatred and mistrust and discrimination, and the advances we’ve made in fifty years over that 300 years have been fairly substantial. I wish I were going to be around fifty years from now to see the further advances that are no doubt going to be made.” (Chapter 2)  
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  Chancellor Nancy Cantor  
  During an interview with the entire EBC research team, Cantor disclosed that “my own personal/chancellor’s goals for the Brown Commemoration—and those things are intersecting but not entirely overlapping—were really first and foremost to galvanize the campus in its positions to the broader society, by reflecting back on where it is on issues of race in America.” Further, by invoking the “spirit of social justice,” Cantor meant to spur inquiry into efforts to redress the inequalities outlawed by Brown. When Nicole asked her why the Brown decision was a good point of departure for discussing racial and ethnic diversity on campus, Cantor replied that Brown “is important as much for what hasn’t happened as for what did happen. . . . No one could possibly look at American society now and say . . . things are the same as they were fifty years ago, but at the same time you could not look and say that the promise of Brown has been kept.” In short, it was the “unsettling but important combination of hope and disappointment” evoked by Brown that Cantor wanted the campus and the local community to explore together in 2003-04. (Chapter 2)  
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