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Elsewhere – Lawsuits nationwide are opening up minority-only programs to all students

(U-WIRE) CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-In an effort to comply with 2003 Supreme Court rulings regarding affirmative action, some universities are opening up formerly minority-exclusive programs and scholarships to all students. While such programs target a broader demographic of students, there is debate as to whether modifying or even terminating minority-exclusive programs is an appropriate reaction to the 2003 rulings.

Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, filed complaints against a number of universities in an effort to insure that schools comply with the ruling.

“There are a lot of programs out there that are being run in a racially exclusive way, not just racially preferential, but racially exclusive,” Clegg said.

“You can’t even apply unless you are the right skin color. These include summer programs, internships, some scholarships and so forth. So what we have done is contact the schools who have these programs and point out that it is illegal because the Supreme Court has said that you have to ‘individualize consideration’ to students.”

The center’s efforts began when they filed a complaint against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology about four or five years ago, Clegg said.

A complaint was also filed against Virginia Tech in 2002, before the Supreme Court rulings, Clegg said.

Thus far, the Center’s efforts have resulted in changes, Clegg said.

February 10, 2006

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