Judge Asked to Keep 24-year-old Alabama A&M College Race Bias Case Open

MONTGOMERY, Ala.

After talks to resolve pending issues stalled, attorneys for historically Black Alabama State and Alabama A&M have asked a federal judge not to end a racial discrimination case that began in 1981 against the state’s higher education system.

The attorneys recently filed pleadings asking U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy to order additional funds and monitor the courses being offered by the local competitors of ASU and Alabama A&M.

Lawyers for the two schools and other plaintiffs with ties to them asked Murphy to order the state to maintain “enhanced” funding for some new courses at the schools, continue funding of diversity and needs-based scholarships and require some historically White campuses to increase Black faculty and administration numbers.

After negotiations to end the 24-year-old case stalled in October, Murphy asked for objections to termination. Responses to the recent filings are due Jan. 6.

Robert Hunter, a lawyer representing the state, told The Birmingham News that he expects there will be another trial. There already have been three major higher education trials and two far-reaching rulings from Murphy, in 1991 and 1995. The state has appropriated more than $180 million to carry out the two orders.

Among the latest requests, ASU wants the judge to continue voluntary and mandatory cross-enrollment courses for it and Auburn University Montgomery. The judge in 1991 found both campuses had business and education programs that duplicated each other.

ASU also wants restrictions on course offerings at Troy State University Montgomery and an effective cross-enrollment program between TSUM and ASU.

Alabama A&M asked the judge to order nearly $17 million in construction, repair and renovation funds, most to offset what it described as past discrimination.

Associated Press



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