NAACP Asks University of Georgia Not to Appeal Admissions Policy Decision
ATHENS, Ga.The Georgia NAACP says it will ask the University of Georgia not to appeal a federal court ruling that said the school’s admissions policy is unconstitutional because it gives non-White students a statistical boost. Attorneys for the civil rights group said earlier this month they want the university to abandon an appeal because the issues in the Georgia case are too narrow, giving it little chance for success on appeal. Late last month, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the university’s policy, which awarded race-based points to borderline students, violated the Constitution’s equal-protection clause. The decision upheld a lower court ruling in favor of three White women who were denied admission in 1999. Ken Dious, an attorney working with the Georgia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he would rather see the university set admissions criteria to address past discrimination. He said other cases now moving through the courts in other states — he mentioned Michigan, Maryland and Washington — have a better chance of setting a legal precedent for using admissions criteria to remedy past discrimination. No Black students were allowed at the university until 1961. The state NAACP has “tentatively” communicated its desires to the university’s counsel, Dious told the Athens Banner-Herald newspaper. Under the school’s admissions policy, 90 percent of students are accepted on the basis of grades and test scores alone. The rest are assigned points on other factors, such as alumni relatives and race, with non-White applicants getting a boost. The University of Georgia has struggled for years to boost Black enrollment. Blacks make up about 6 percent of the student body, even though the Black population is 25 percent in Georgia. Russ Willard, a spokesman for Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, said his office was reviewing the decision to determine their next step. The school could appeal to the full appeals court or to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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