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7th Annual Diversity Forum (April 12, 12-1pm EST) - Digital Discrimination

Upcoming Forum on Digital Discrimination - in Honor of the late Dr. Jerome Williams (Rutgers University)

On Thursday, April 22 from noon to 1 pm (EST), SUNY Empire State College with host, in partnership with Rutgers University, the 7th Annual Diversity Forum on Digital Discrimination (Register here:

The SUNY Empire State College Cultural Diversity and Inclusion forum series is an expansion of the highly successful Western New York student survey project, coined the Buffalo Project, created by Dr. Rhianna C. Rogers, associate professor and Coordinator of the Global Indigenous Knowledge program at SUNY Empire State College (to learn more see

The 7th Annual SUNY Empire Diversity Forum on Digital Discrimination will be in honor of Dr. Jerome Williams, whose sudden passing led Prof. Yla Eason (Rutgers University) and Dr. Rhianna C. Rogers (SUNY Empire State College) to create this panel in honor of his work in the field.

Panel Description: A discussion about ‘Digital Discrimination’ and the many promises and perils of algorithms, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how these platforms must be analyzed for bias against Blacks in marketing decisions affecting banking, real estate, health and auto financing.This interview format discussion will focus on discriminatory practices and biases in the marketplace fueled by AI.

Panel Questions:

  1. How do you define digital discrimination and how does it relate to your work?

  2. Given current discussions around big data, AI, digital biases, and the digital divide, what are ways which society and/or academia can combat digital discrimination?

  3. How can digital activism, data analysis, and conversations like these help combat issues surrounding digital discrimination and create more spaces for "algorithmic accountability"?

Honoring the late Dr. Jerome Williams

Who was Dr. Williams?

Dr. Williams was a Distinguished Professor and the Prudential Chair in Business (Marketing Department), and Fellow of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (Management and Global Business Department) in the Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick (RBS). He formerly served as Rutgers-Newark Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor from 2015-2019. He was as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. In 2014 he was inducted into the PhD Project Hall of Fame for his efforts in promoting greater faculty diversity in schools of business. Much of his work focused on Digital Discrimination, which is the focus of this panel. During his tenure, Dr. Williams has received three lifetime achievement career awards from professional organizations because of his long-term commitment to advertising ethics and social responsibility. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in Marketing, with a minor in Social Psychology. He also had an M.S. degree from Union College and a B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Guest Moderator - Professor Yla Eason (Rutgers University)

BIO: Professor Yla is an award-winning entrepreneur who is largely credited with pioneering the ethnic toy market at mass market stores. Aa an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at Rutgers University, her focus is Business Communications and Marketing. She received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Fitchburg State University. She has earned numerous awards and honors for founding and growing to $5 million Olmec Toys, a multicultural toy company, including an honorary Ph.D. from Bloomfield College; The Business Enterprise Trust Award from President Bill Clinton in 1996.She was the former Director of Learning and Development for R/GA, a digital advertising agency and for the Center for Excellence in Advertising at Howard University. She previously was a Lecturer at the Business School at Medgar Evers College, City University of New York (CUNY), She also taught e-Commerce for CUNYs School of Professional Studies


Renée Cummings,

Data Activist - School of Data Science, Criminologist,

University of Virginia BIO: Renée Cummings is a criminologist, criminal psychologist, therapeutic jurisprudence specialist, AI ethicist and the historic first Data Activist in Residence, at The School of Data Science, University of Virginia. Renée is also a community scholar at Columbia University. Advocating for AI we can trust, accountable, transparent, explainable, responsible and principled as well as more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, Renée is on the frontline of ethical AI, generating real time responses to many of the consequences of AI and the impacts of data on society. Renée specializes in AI risk management, algorithmic justice, AI policy and governance, and using AI to save lives. She is committed to using AI to empower and transform communities by helping governments and organizations navigate the AI landscape and develop future AI leaders. Renée works at the intersection of AI, criminal justice, racial justice, social justice, design justice, epidemiological and urban criminology. She is on the Board of Advisors of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. She’s a founding board member of the new Springer journal AI Ethics. She is also on the board of Women in Voice as well as on the board of Inspired Minds, producers of the World Summit AI. Renée lectures extensively on AI and Data Ethics and contributed significantly to the creation of the first Ethical Emerging Technologist certification. Many of her lectures are available on Coursera. Renée is committed to fusing AI with criminal justice for ethical real time solutions to improve law enforcement accountability and transparency, reduce violence, enhance public safety, public health, quality of life, community efficacy and community resilience. A thought-leader, motivational speaker, and mentor, Renée has mastered the art of creative storytelling and deconstructing complex topics into critical everyday conversations that inform and inspire.

Dr. Kalinda Ukanwa,

Assistant Professor of Marketing,

USC Marshall School of Business, USC. BIO: Kalinda Ukanwa is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Southern California. A quantitative modeler, Professor Ukanwa researches how algorithmic bias, algorithmic decision-making, and consumer reputations impact firms. She is the winner of the 2018 Eli Jones Promising Young Scholar Award and a finalist for the 2018 INFORMS Service Science Best Student Paper Award, 2019 Howard/AMA Doctoral Dissertation Award, and the 2020 AMS Mary Kay Doctoral Dissertation Award. In a prior life, Professor Ukanwa was an industrial engineer, financial analyst, and finance executive at Walt Disney, Citigroup, Viacom, and Kaplan.

Mike King,

Managing Director, iPullRank. BIO: The Founder and Managing Director of iPullRank, Michael King (aka @iPullRank on Twitter), has an extensive background in software, web development and a proclivity for creative solutions. That experience has afforded him a track record of successfully coordinating the efforts of Creative, Strategy, Technical and Paid Media Teams to achieve synergistic solutions in harmony with long-term client campaign goals for several Fortune 500 brands. Previously, Mr. King was the marketing director for iAcquire where he led growth initiatives and the transition from link building into content marketing initiatives including market research, content strategy, social strategy and on-page SEO. Prior to that he led the SEO campaigns of LG, Citi, Sanofi Pasteur, Cartier, and General Mills as the SEO lead at Publicis Modem. Publicis Modem was his second agency within the umbrella as he was member of the SEO team at Razorfish contributing to many wins for Ralph Lauren, Hawaiian Airlines, ABC, ADT, State Farm, and a number of Johnson & Johnson and Genentech brands.

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