Stephen Menendian

Assistant Director and Director of Research

Stephen Menendian is the Assistant Director and Director of Research at the Othering & Belonging Institute, and he oversees many of the Institute’s research initiatives and ongoing projects. In particular, Stephen leads the Inclusiveness Index initiative, an assessment of global inclusivity, fair housing policy and opportunity mapping projects with the state of California, and a recent investigation on the extent and harmful effects of racial residential segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Stephen’s primary areas of expertise are structural racism, fair housing, affirmative action and educational equity, and civil rights law, but his research focuses on the causes and consequences of inter-group inequality (“othering”), and the design of effective equity interventions under prevailing interpretations of law.

Stephen is the author of many scholarly publications, book chapters, journal and law review articles and a regularly contributor to Berkeley Blog.  Recent publications include: "Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area," a series for the Othering & Belonging Institute, “The Road Not Taken: Housing and Criminal Justice 50 Years after the Kerner Commission Report” with Richard Rothstein, “Putting Integration on the Agenda,” also with Richard Rothstein for the Journal of Affordable Housing, and “Targeted Universalism: Policy and Practice” with john powell and Wendy Ake, also for the Othering and Belonging Institute.

Other notable publications include "The Problem of Othering" with john powell for Othering & Belonging,  "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: A Reckoning with Government-Sponsored Segregation in the 21st Century" for the National Civic Review, "Opportunity Communities: Overcoming the Debate over Mobility Versus place-based Strategies" in The Fight for Fair Housing, and "What Constitutes a 'Racial Classification'?: Equal Protection Doctrine Scrutinized" for the Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, and "Remaking Law: Moving Beyond Enlightenment Jurisprudence" (with john powell) for the St. Louis University Law Journal.

Stephen co-chaired “Race & Inequality in America: The Kerner Commission at 50 conference,” held in the Spring of 2018, a conference that brought together the nation’s leading experts on race and housing, the criminal justice system, employment, transportation and heath care in order to envision a contemporary racial justice agenda.

Stephen developed and co-authored the Institute's Amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court case of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. the Inclusive Communities Project, cited by the Supreme Court in a landmark decision recognizing disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act. He also co-authored the Institute’s Amicus brief in Fisher v. Texas asking the Court to uphold the University of Texas’ race-conscious admissions policy, the Amicus brief for Mount Holly arguing that disparate impact standard remains essential to address the ongoing legacy of historical housing segregation, as well as an Amicus brief in the 2007 Seattle/Louisville K-12 integration cases to persuade the Court to sustain voluntary integration plans in the Seattle and Louisville school districts. 

Stephen is also an editor for Othering & Belonging, a journal published by the Othering & Belonging Institute, and edited a number of policy briefs published by the Institute’s faculty clusters, including co-authoring the brief Responding to Rising Inequality: Policy Interventions to Ensure Opportunity for All

Older publications include “Systems Thinking and Race: A Primer” for the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, "Beyond Public/Private: Understanding Excessive Corporate Prerogative" for the Kentucky Law Journal, "Parents Involved: The Mantle of Brown, the Shadow of Plessy" for the University of Louisville Law Review, and "Little Rock and the Legacy of Dred Scott" for the St. Louis Law Journal.

Stephen also authored the State of Ohio’s Diversity Strategies For Successful Schools Guidance, which was adopted by the State Board of Education of Ohio in May, 2012. In addition, Stephen co-authored an interim report, Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools: Recommendations to the State Board of Education of Ohio, on September, 2011 with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity.

Stephen has trained policymakers, businesses, and other institutions on structural racism, diversity, inclusion, and affirmative action practices, policies, and compliance, including creative ways to improve diversity within bounds of law, and has regularly taught, guest-lectured courses, and served as a keynote speaker on these issues. Stephen is a licensed attorney.