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Southern Illinois University agrees to DOJ Consent Decree!

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0. SIU Scholarships Opened to ALL Races and Genders!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. Dept. of Justice
Wed., Feb. 8, 2006

(202) 514-2007 -- TDD (202) 514-1888

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Southern Illinois University to End Race and Sex Discrimination in Paid Fellowship Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) today announced that it has reached a consent decree with the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University (SIU) that, if approved and entered by the court, would resolve the Department's lawsuit against the Board.

The Consent Decree:
(Adobe PDF File)

          The Department's complaint, which was filed today [02-08-06] in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois located in Benton, Illinois, alleges that the Board [of SIU] has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by maintaining paid fellowship programs that establish quotas on the basis of race, national origin or sex.  Title VII prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion.

See Also:

          The consent decree requires the SIU Board immediately to cease restricting any paid fellowship positions on the basis of race, national origin or sex; to not establish any future paid fellowship positions using these prohibited criteria; and to employ, compensate and provide terms, conditions and privileges of employment to persons for any paid fellowship position without discriminating on the basis of race, national origin or sex in violation of Title VII.

Last known link:
http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2006/February/06_crt_068.html


Chicago Sun-Times:
SIU will open fellowships to all students

Sun-Times 02-09-06 by Dave Newbart

          "Southern Illinois University's fellowships targeted to increase minority enrollment will now be open to all students -- even whites -- under a consent decree approved Wednesday.

          "The consent decree filed in federal court in Southern Illinois Wednesday heads off the U.S. Justice Department's threat to sue the university for allegedly discriminating against whites and others in three fellowships that had been open only to minorities or members of 'traditionally underrepresented groups.'

          "The decree prohibits 'recruitment of employment for any paid fellowship positions to members of any particular group or groups on the basis of race, national origin, or sex,' according to a statement issued by the SIU Board of Trustees.

          "In addition, the school agreed to a two-year monitoring period by the Justice Department.

          "Eric Holland, a Justice Department spokesman, noting that fellows are university employees, said, 'All individuals should be able to seek employment free from discrimination.'

          "Legal experts said the Justice Department likely chose to pursue the case through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act because it is well established that employers cannot give preferential treatment based on race, sex or national origin. Case law regarding university admissions and scholarships is not as clear-cut; the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that race could be a factor in determining admissions.

          "Although the university denies the feds' allegations, SIU president Glenn Poshard said the Downstate school agreed to the decree because, 'we seriously doubt we can win a case with the Department of Justice.'  SIU-Carbondale Chancellor Walter Wendler said 'we have to do what's
correct legally.'

          "Still, at a press conference after the trustees signed off on the decree, there was no talk of whites or other students being wronged.  Rather, Poshard and other officials bent over backward to emphasize the school's commitment to diversity.

          "Overall, minorities hold about 12 percent of the nearly 2,200 paid graduate positions on both SIU campuses, officials said.  But Poshard said he was instituting a systemwide review of all those positions because some have very little minority participation.  The review will ensure there is nothing that hampers participation of women or minorities.

          SIU President Glenn Poshard said "If we continue down that path that could be described in some ways [as] an apartheid separation . . . we do not do our students justice.  ...In these programs where representation is low, we have to build them up."

Program excluded white men

          "But SIU history professor Jonathan Bean, a strong critic of the minority programs, said the timing of Poshard's statement was puzzling. 'Given the university's alleged record of discriminating on the basis of race and sex, and given the race/sex-neutral consent decree, one would hope for task forces to ensure that nothing hampers anyone from participating in these programs,' Bean said in an e-mail.

          "By agreeing to the consent decree, SIU said it was changing who could apply for the programs targeted by the Justice Department. To even apply for those programs, students had to be a minority or a member of an 'underrepresented group' -- which in academia typically means
blacks, Latinos or Native Americans. For one program, women of all races could apply, but not white men.

          "The 28 students currently in the programs will not be affected by the decree, officials said.  But officials said they expect more whites as well as minorities will apply for the two remaining fellowships. The federally funded Bridge to the Doctorate program is ending.

Excerpted from the Sun-Times article 02-09-06 by Dave Newbart.
Last known link:
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-siu09.html


Cavalier Daily (U. Va Student Paper):
Colleges work to open up minority-exclusive programs

Subhead:   Institutions react in different ways to the 2003 Supreme Court affirmative action ruling [Re: Supreme Court rulings in "Gratz v. Bollinger" and "Grutter v. Bollinger" June 23, 2003. Editor.]

Cavalier Daily 02-10-06 by Maura O'Keefe

          "In an effort to comply with the 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, and 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, has filed complaints against a number of universities in an effort to insure that schools comply with the rulings and scholarships and programs to all students.

          " '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 MIT about four or five years ago, Clegg said.   'We sort of stepped things up in 2003 and have continued to contact schools in a fairly steady pace since then,' Clegg said.  'It may have slowed down … because most schools have begun changing their programs.'

          " 'A complaint was also filed against Virginia Tech in 2002, before the Supreme Court rulings [U. Michigan 2003], Clegg said.

          "Thus far, the Center's efforts have resulted in changes.  'Schools we have filed complaints against have generally ended up changing programs as well,' said Clegg.

          "According to William Harvey, chief officier for diversity and equity at the University, when schools abandon or modify such minority-exclusive programs, they do so in an effort to avoid being sued.  'I'm disappointed by [the extension of the programs to all students]," Harvey said.   'I think it is a reaction that's in part taking place because there is a threat of possible lawsuit, and people are being extraordinarily cautious.' 

          "Harvey said that applying the 2003 Supreme Court rulings [Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger June 2003] to these programs is an inaccurate application of the law.  'The rulings don't speak to these programs at all, they speak to admissions,' Harvey said.  'They said diversity is an added aspect to an environment.  It's a contradiction to what they're doing.'  

          "According to Clegg, a complaint was filed against the University in 2004 on behalf of a student who was not admitted.  'A complaint has been filed against U.Va by a parent who thought that his son or daughter had been illegally discriminated against in admissions, and that complaint is being investigated by the federal government now,' Clegg said.  'The Virginia Association of Scholars used freedom of information laws, and we worked with them to send a freedom of information request to U.Va,' Clegg said.

          "The Center analyzed admissions data and released a report to the education department, he said.

          "According to John Blackburn, dean of admissions, ethnicity can be considered as a factor in the admissions process under the law.  'There's nothing that says that race-exclusive programs for recruiting are illegal,' Blackburn said.  'In terms of what we're doing, we've never had any kind of admission program here that was race specific, that, in fact, would suggest that simply by being Hispanic or African-American, [a student] got in.'

          "According to Clegg, the University does not currently sponsor programs that entail race-restrictive eligibility. 'I'm not aware that U.Va has programs like this now,' said Clegg.

          "Students supported by race-restricted programs [at U. Va], such as Jerome scholars, funded by the CAP Charitable Foundation, and Ridley scholars, funded by the Alumni Association, do attend the University [of Virginia].  According to University spokesperson Carol Wood, neither of these programs is sponsored by the University of Virginia.  Links to the scholarships can be found on the Office of Admissions Outreach Office Website." -30-

Excerpted from the Cavalier Daily article 02-10-06 by Laura O'Keefe
Last known link:
http://www.cavalierdaily.com/CVArticle_print.asp?ID=25763&pid1391


Read the official DOJ - SIU Consent Decree! (Adobe PDF format; opens new window):  Consent Decree

END 0. SIU Scholarships Opened to ALL Races, Genders


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