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Judge Refuses to Stop UGA Preferences While Case Is Pending
SAVANNAH, Ga. — A federal judge has denied a motion that would have prevented the University of Georgia from continuing to use race as one of the factors for admitting borderline students while a class action lawsuit wends its way through the court.
The motion for a preliminary injunction had been before U.S. District Court Judge Avant Edenfield since last fall when the university’s president, Dr. Michael Adams said the school would continue using race as a factor in admissions to ensure diversity (see Black Issues, Feb. 3.
In papers previously filed in the court, the state says continuing to use race in admissions poses “no real threat of impending injury” to a group of women who filed suit to block the practice.
“In addition, the manner in which race will continue to be used as a factor in admissions has not yet been finalized by the university,” state officials say, adding that an immediate ban would be “inappropriate and premature.”
Even though state Attorney General Thurbert Baker has said the university has a slim chance of winning its case in court, he filed the brief on behalf of the school.
“This court should not now put the brakes to a system that has served the university and the state well, that has resulted in the increased opportunity for a significant segment of our population,” Baker says.
The plaintiffs asked Edenfield to stop the university from using race as a factor in admissions for the fall 2000 semester. They were responding to an announcement by Adams, who said in September — and as recently as last month — that the school would continue using race in admissions as a way of ensuring diversity.
The women, all of whom were denied admission for fall 1999, claim that the university would have admitted them if they were Black males.
About 85 percent of freshmen are admitted to the university based on grades and test scores. But race is one of several factors the school looks at when considering borderline students who make up 10 to 20 percent of each freshman class.
Blacks make up only 6 percent of the student body — a lower percentage than all but two of the state’s public four-year colleges.
Men no longer will receive a preference in borderline admissions. The university had adopted the gender preference because women on campus outnumber men, but Adams decided to scrap the policy for next year because of another lawsuit filed for a rejected female applicant.

Alabama Commission Refuses Request For Black Studies Degree Program

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A state board rejected a bid last month to establish the state’s first Black studies major at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The Alabama Commission on Higher Education refused to approve the school’s request to offer a major in the subject. The vote was 5-4 in favor of the major, but seven votes are required for approval.
“There were concerns about enrollment and the number of graduates,” says Brenda Carter, director of programs for the commission. Questions also were raised about the employability of someone who majored in Black studies, she says.
The Birmingham university has had courses in Black culture since the 1970s and a minor since 1989, but students began to ask for a major in the mid-1990s.
“When we looked around, we were astounded to find that this region, with a large population of African-American tradition and history, had no other program,” says s provost, Dr. Peter O’Neil.

Minority Applications Increasing
At Miami University

OXFORD, Ohio —  Minority applications at Miami University are up 27 percent from a year ago, school officials say.
Minority applications increased across the board among Black, American Indian, Hispanic and Asian students, university spokeswoman Holly Wissing says.
University administrators were pleased with the response, which came after Miami officials advertised last fall in newspapers and on radio and billboards to minority applicants, Wissing says.

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