The Housing Discrimination Seminar will examine legal and public policy issues related to housing discrimination and residential segregation. The seminar will explore the origin, nature, scope, and impact of contemporary housing discrimination and offer a critical analysis of the operative public and private fair housing enforcement schemes. A review of case law and litigation materials, as well as secondary readings from law and social science on housing will facilitate class discussions about theories of liability, litigation strategy, remedies, and housing policy.
Specifically, the course will provide (1) a historical overview of government and housing industry policies and practices, the fair housing movement, and fair housing legislation; (2) a review of existing research and other empirical evidence regarding the nature and extent of illegal housing discrimination and segregation, and the efficacy of contemporary approaches to addressing discrimination and segregation; (3) hypothetical examples and class exercises which illustrate the individual and societal impact of housing discrimination, and (4) an exploration of fair housing issues by examining and discussing selected case law. The course will explore discrimination in the sale, rental, financing and construction of housing, as well as land use and zoning practices that serve as discriminatory barriers to affordable housing opportunities. While considerable emphasis will be placed on race, national origin, and source of income discrimination, other topics such as sexual harassment in housing, equal access to affordable housing, land use and inclusionary zoning, and economic integration will be included as topics for discussion.
Students will be graded on class participation (25% of grade), and one research paper on a fair housing issue to be selected by the student and approved by the instructors (75% of the grade). The final research paper is due at the end of the semester. Major writing credit is available upon request.