Education Professor Norma Cantú Named Chair of the Commission on Civil Rights

Updated April 30, 2021

Norma Cantu

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has named Norma Cantú as chair by a unanimous vote, making her the first Latina to serve in this position.

In February, Norma Cantú was selected by President Joseph Biden to be a commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Cantu is the Ken McIntyre Professor for Excellence in School Leadership in the  Department of Educational Leadership and Policy in the College of Education. She is also a professor in the School of Law.

This is a significant presidential appointment and reflects Cantú’s stature as a nationally renowned legal scholar, litigator, and civil rights icon.

Cantú was sworn in on February 11 as the newest member of the commission by Staff Director Mauro Morales. 

Victor Saenz, chair of ELP, said, “This is a significant presidential appointment, reflecting Professor Cantu’s stature as a nationally renowned legal scholar, litigator, and civil rights law expert. We are proud of her distinguished career, and we are fortunate to have such an outstanding public servant lead this important agenda for our nation.”

Established as an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights informs the development of national civil rights policy and enhances enforcement of federal civil rights laws. They pursue this mission by studying alleged deprivations of voting rights and alleged discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice.

Cantú will continue her tenured faculty position with the College of Education and the School of Law during her time with the commission, but she will have a reduced appointment to accommodate the significant service responsibilities.