Canceling student debt to address systemic racism

Brookings Fellow Andre Perry to speak at Graduate College Distinguished Lecture Oct. 21

October 18, 2021

Noted educator, scholar and journalist Andre Perry will deliver the third annual Graduate College Distinguished Lecture, “Canceling student debt is anti-racist (and why we must do it),” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21.

Perry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, will discuss how centering student debt policy around students of color would help to combat historic systemic racism that has prevented people of color from gaining the wealth they were denied for centuries. Graduate College Distinguished Lecture Canceling student debt is anti-racist  event Download Full Image

“The Graduate College has been focused on convening discussions about the impact of systemic racism on access to graduate education,” said Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate College Elizabeth Wentz. “Andre Perry, this year’s Distinguished Lecture speaker, has a unique perspective that we hope will inspire more discussion on how to create more equitable outcomes for all students in the future.”

For Perry, the impact of canceling student loan debt is clear. When you cancel student debt, you reduce the racial wealth gap.

“In many ways, student debt is hurting more Black students than many other students. If we eliminate student debt, we increase the capacity of Black people to buy homes and cars, which starts new businesses, which expands the economy,” Perry said. 

“So canceling debt is the right thing to do, it's the moral thing to do, but there's an economic benefit as well.”

Following Perry’s lecture, he will sit down with special guest Battinto Batts Jr., dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, for a Q&A session including questions from the audience. Questions for Perry can also be submitted in advance through in-person or virtual registration.

Perry knows that people may disagree about strategies for addressing systemic racism or about whether it exists, but he sees value in making “a head case and a heart case.” As with many issues involving racism, there will be people who don’t want to change things. 

“I want the ASU community to see themselves as part of a movement to eliminate racial inequality in this country,” Perry said. 

The Distinguished Lecture is open to ASU students, staff, faculty and members of the community and can be attended in-person or virtually.

>> Register here

About the Graduate College Distinguished Lecture series

The Graduate College Distinguished Lecture series brings leading scholars to engage the ASU community in a discussion of the advancement of graduate education as a public good and how to attract, nurture and inspire future generations of advanced learners, who will foster opportunity and well-being in their communities.

Past speakers in the series include UCLA Professor Sylvia Hurtado on civic learning for a diverse democracy and Louisiana State University President William F. Tate IV on graduate education and the democratic project.

Written by Jenna Nabors

COVID-19 and the 2021 global supply chain crisis: Event to explore where we go from here

Free Nov. 2 lecture with ASU alum and supply chain expert Zachary Rogers

October 18, 2021

Record queues of container ships wait at anchor outside the Port of Los Angeles. A 20-mile traffic jam clogs rail lines in Chicago. Store shelves are bare and shortages of numerous products — from automobiles and laptops to clothing, toys and even Christmas trees — are showing up across the country. Given that the U.S. has been living with the COVID-19 pandemic for more than 18 months, why are there still kinks in the supply chain?

For years, global supply chains expanded and became increasingly complex in a quest to make shipping goods and services around the globe cheaper and faster. The COVID-19 pandemic threw these finely tuned systems into tailspin. Supply chain expert Zachary Rogers from Colorado State University will explain where we go from here, opportunities in innovation and connection, and how this may affect our lives at a free lecture at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, that can be attended in person or online. Zachary Rogers Supply chain expert Zachary Rogers from Colorado State University will explain why are there still kinks in the supply chain at a free lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 2, that can be attended in person or online. Download Full Image

Supply chains are experiencing growing pains as they adjust to the new reality. Fortunately, COVID-related disruptions are also bringing to light new ways to innovate for the future. COVID-19 was not the first disruption to impact supply chains around the world, and it will not be the last. We must heed the hard-won lessons from COVID-19 and build resilient systems that will be ready for future disruptions.

Rogers is an Arizona State University alumnus who earned a doctorate in supply chain management from the W. P. Carey School of Business in 2016. He is now an assistant professor of operations and supply chain management at Colorado State University. His research focuses on the financial impact of supply chain disruptions, emerging purchasing and logistics technologies, and the increasing importance of supply chain cybersecurity.

Rogers serves as an analyst co-author for the Logistics Managers’ Index (LMI). This bimonthly publication tracks a broad range of logistics activity in the United States and publishes key logistics metrics that act as leading indicators predicting future economic activity. Its information is critical to companies dependent on the complex national and international network for product distribution. Such data are also used by investment professionals and government agencies in planning strategies for U.S. economic growth. This lecture will provide an inside look into the challenges facing consumers as we enter the holiday season — and perhaps an optimistic perspective on opportunities for new business growth.

This lecture series is an annual event that highlights the ASU Biodesign Institute’s broad range of excellence in human health, community safety and global sustainability. The series was inspired by Charles Arntzen, Biodesign’s founding director from 2001–03. He is a biotechnologist best known for his research on new strategies for biomanufacturing protein pharmaceuticals.

Currently, Arntzen is an emeritus professor at the ASU School of Life Sciences. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors, and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences of India. In 2001, Arntzen was appointed as a member of President George W. Bush’s Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and in 2004 received a presidential appointment to serve on the National Nanotechnology Oversight Board.

The free, annual Arntzen Grand Challenge Lecture will be held in-person in the Biodesign Auditorium, Biodesign B, 727 E. Tyler St., Tempe, AZ 85281 on the Tempe campus. Livestreaming also will be available.

For more information, visit

Julie Kurth

Assistant Director, KE Strategic Marketing and Communications, Knowledge Enterprise