Adam’s Mark Settles Discrimination Suit
ST. LOUIS — The Adam’s Mark luxury hotel chain agreed late last month to pay $8 million, revise its policies and seek minority customers in the settlement of a race-discrimination lawsuit by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the U.S. Department of Justice, the state of Florida and a group of Black guests.
But some members affiliated with the Organization of American Historians, who had decided in February to relocate their annual meeting held at the St. Louis Adam’s Mark, say they’re cautiously optimistic about hotel officials’ true intent.
“Many of us who have been involved in the efforts to hold Adam’s Mark accountable for its actions believe that vigilance and caution — considering the history of the institution and its leader with regard to settlements — should guide responses,” Dr. Jeffrey T. Sammons, a member of the historians organization and a New York University professor, wrote in a statement.
The group moved its conference to St. Louis University and historians around the country planned a rally over the settlement to coincide with the annual meeting held here late last month.
“While we are delighted at this settlement, Adam’s Mark has settled before. And the allegations and suits continued,” says Dr. Leslie Brown, a member of St. Louis Historians Against Racism. “This legacy motivates us to continue our campaign against racism.”
The settlement includes $1.5 million for Florida to distribute to four historically Black colleges in the state for scholarships and internships in hotel management.
Officials at Edward Waters College say they will use their share of the money to boost the school’s attempt to start a degree program in hospitality management.
Edward Waters will receive $300,000 from the St. Louis-based hotel chain for the hospitality program.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us,” says Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, president of the 800-student school. “We will use the money to try to recruit interested students.”
Bethune-Cookman College, Florida A&M University and Florida Memorial College all will share the remaining $1.2 million in the agreement announced late last month.
New Book Examines Bob Jones’
Ku Klux Klan Involvement
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The founder of Bob Jones University was a Ku Klux Klan mouthpiece who preached against Catholics and foreigners in Alabama decades before his school’s policies became a presidential campaign issue.
At least that’s what the newly released book, “Politics, Society and the Klan in Alabama: 1915-1949,” says about Bob Jones Sr., founder of the 4,000-student Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C.
Author Glenn Feldman says in his new book that Jones actively campaigned for Klan-backed political candidates in the 1920s. A fundamentalist preacher, Jones traveled the state espousing Klan views, Feldman says.
The university’s stance on interracial dating and Catholicism became an issue in the Republican presidential campaign last month following an appearance by Texas governor and party nominee George W. Bush. (See Black Issues, March 16.)
The school’s official history makes no mention of any ties between its founder and the KKK. Neither spokesman Jonathan Pait nor other college administrators returned telephone calls seeking comment on the book’s allegations.
Jones’s grandson, Bob Jones III, is the school’s current president.
They’re Out … of South Carolina
ROCK HILL, S.C. — Coaches and players for Pennsylvania State University’s baseball team say they will not play another regular season game in South Carolina as long as the Confederate flag continues to fly over the Capitol.
Team members donned red armbands in both their games against Winthrop University here last month to protest the state’s stance on the flag issue. The team said it would only come to South Carolina again if it has to play a postseason game.
“This isn’t about the North and the South,” says George Everly, a freshman outfielder for Penn State who is Black. “It has nothing to do with the university or the players. It is a statement against racism.”
Meanwhile, an international artist has canceled a planned exhibit here at the College of Charleston to show his support for the boycott.
“This is in protest to the continuing display of the Confederate flag atop the state Capitol,” artist Leo Golub wrote to Halsey Gallery director Mark Sloan last month in withdrawing his planned exhibit for May and June.
Golub says his beliefs and the nature of his artwork, which often offers a social commentary on repression and human-rights violations, prevent him from showing his work in South Carolina.
Rather than replace the exhibit with another show, the gallery will remain closed with Golub’s letter displayed to explain the closure, Sloan says. City officials say Golub will be invited to show his work again when and if the flag comes down.
Judge: NAACP Has Standing to
Challenge One Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has standing to challenge state university admissions policies banning consideration of race and gender, a hearing officer ruled late last month.
Lawyers for the state had sought to show that the NAACP did not have standing to challenge the policies, part of Gov. Jeb Bush’s One Florida plan.
But Administrative Judge Charles Adams’ written decisions said the state’s claim that the NAACP could not be directly harmed by the new rules did not hold.
The ruling means the NAACP can try to build its case through the hearing process, which is a precursor to a lawsuit when a state agency is involved.
The NAACP filed the challenge against the new rules on Feb. 25 on behalf of Mattie Garvin, identified as “an African-American Florida citizen and the mother of Keith Garvin, a tenth-grade student in a Florida public school.”
The NAACP argues that the Florida Board of Regents, which administers the state university system, improperly used the terms racial and gender “preferences.”
The association also contends that the public did not receive proper notice of the Board of Regents’ vote to adopt the One Florida plan, and that the panel usurped powers of the Florida Legislature in instituting changes to higher education.
Still, those new admissions rules remain on hold, pending final legal resolution over what to do with the governor’s plan.
Controversial Donor Wants His Money Back
MINNEAPOLIS — A man who donated $500,000 to Augsburg College here filed suit against the college last month to retrieve the monetary gift, saying the college has refused to name a building wing after him because of his controversial notions.
College officials accepted the donation from alumnus Elroy Stock in 1987, but later learned that he has sent out thousands of letters to interracial couples over the past 20 years condemning interracial marriages and adoptions.
Dr. Charles Anderson, the college’s president, said that when administrators talked to Stock about the matter, he agreed the school could keep the money even if it didn’t name the building wing after him.
Anderson, who is White and has a Black daughter-in-law, has himself received three of Stock’s letters condemning interracial mixing. Stock contends he made no such agreement with the college and wants his money back.
Poor Minority Hiring Practices May Cost Nebraska College
LINCOLN, Neb. — State Legislators here warned the University of Nebraska-Lincoln last month that the school will lose state funding if it fails to meet goals set by lawmakers for hiring minority faculty members.
“The Legislature insists that the university meet the benchmarks — or suffer the consequences,” states a resolution passed last month by the state Committee on Gender and Minority Equity. But state Sen. Deb Suttle says it’s not a threat.
“It is a pleading, if you will, for them to please do this,” says Suttle, chairwoman of the committee. “It’s an encouragement.”
Lawmakers want the university to rank in the top half of peer institutions for employing women and minority faculty by 2002. If the school falls short of that goal set in 1997, it will lose 1 percent of its state funding, or more than $3 million.
Records show that the university falls in the top 50 percent of similar-sized institutions in hiring women faculty but lags in hiring minorities. The university increased its minority faculty from 8.9 percent in 1997 to 10.1 percent last year.
Regents Select Former Protester as Student Representative
LOS ANGELES — A University of California at Los Angeles graduate student who once was arrested for disrupting a regents meeting to protest its affirmative action ban was selected last month as the regents’ student representative.
A committee chose Justin W. Fong from a pool of 10 candidates for the one-year post.
Police arrested Fong and several other students during a July 1995 regents meeting where they were protesting the board’s ban on affirmative action in student admissions, faculty and staff hiring and contracting. Fong was cited and released. Charges were never filed. “The incident is behind me,” he says. “I’m now looking forward to working with the regents … to make sure the university is a better place.”
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