|Use of Race in Admissions at
U. of Georgia Is Struck Down by Federal Judge (07/26/00
- pay site)
[The Chronicle of Higher Education] "A federal judge ruled Monday [July 24,
2000] that the University of Georgia has unconstitutionally engaged in "naked racial
balancing" by using race as a factor in some admissions decisions without having an
"In a strongly worded opinion, U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield ruled that the
University of Georgia's stated goal of promoting diversity through its admissions policy
was an "amorphous, unquantifiable, and temporarily unlimited goal." And as such,
the judge ruled, it does not represent a compelling state interest for which the
university could constitutionally defend its use of racial preferences."
UGA Story Index:
"Opponents of affirmative action hailed the decision as "one more nail in the
coffin" for the use of racial preferences in admissions decisions."
The Chronicle also noted that those who defend the use of race in college admissions think
that it is a necessary and valid approach to "enhancing campuses academic
If UGA appeals Judge Edenfields ruling, and if they lose the lose the appeal -- i.e,
if Edenfield's ruling is upheld on appeal -- then a precedent against race and gender
based admissions policies will be established throughout the judicial circuit, including
the states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
"The lawsuit was brought by three white women who were denied admission to the
university in 1999 and argued that they would have been admitted if they had been men or
from a minority group."
"Judge Edenfield ordered the University of Georgia to offer all three plaintiffs
admission to the institution for the fall of 2000 and to pay the difference between their
college expenses from last year and what they would have paid at Georgia."
Harlan S. Miller, a lawyer with the Atlanta firm that represented the plaintiffs,
"argued that the opinion was especially significant because Judge Edenfield struck
down the argument that assembling a diverse student body was a compelling state interest
worthy of protecting with racial preferences. Many other courts, ruling in similar cases,
have failed to directly rule on that question, Mr. Miller said. The decision could
sway future decisions across the 11th Circuit and throughout the country, he added."
A lawyer who advises higher education clients on racial quotas said "Although
[Edenfields decision is] disappointing, it is not surprising to see other judges
joining the chorus of those who believe diversity to be not compelling" as a reason
for using race in admissions decisions."
(Based on the Chronicle of Education article
07/26/00 by Sara Hebel)
[link to PAY site: http://www.chronicle.com/daily/2000/07/2000072601n.htm
Judge Rules UGA Race Preferences Unconstitutional (Mon., 07/24/00)
"U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield ... an appointee of former President Jimmy
Carter, minced few words on how he felt about the policy. And his ruling becomes the
second in the nation to question the significance of a landmark 1978 U.S. Supreme Court
decision on the use of racial preferences in university admissions.
"The problem, of course, is that in UGA's world some are 'more equal' than
others," Edenfield wrote. "UGA's claim that it can simultaneously ensure
equality of both opportunity and result, particularly by means of an admissions process
that awards bonus points to some races but not others, simply defies logic."
"Edenfield ruled in favor of three white women -- Jennifer Johnson, Aimee Bogrow and
Molly Ann Beckenhauer -- who filed suit after being denied admission to UGA in 1999.
Edenfield ordered UGA to pay damages to the women and offer them admission. Fall semester
begins Aug. 17.
"After Johnson filed suit, UGA granted her admission. But the Jonesboro High School
graduate had already committed to attend Mercer University. Saying Johnson is entitled to
recover expenses she paid Mercer in excess of what she would have paid UGA for the 1999
Fall semester, Edenfield ordered UGA to pay her $2,060.
"Beckenhauer, who graduated from Lakeside High School in Martinez and attends Clemson
University, is entitled to $7,184 in damages.
"Bogrow, who graduated from North Springs High School in North Fulton, attends the
less-costly Georgia Perimeter College. Edenfield awarded her a nominal amount of $1.
"Bogrow's father, Bernie, said Tuesday that his daughter was on vacation and
unavailable for comment. As to whether she will now attend UGA, he said, "I am not
sure. That's her call, her decision. I do know this is a late date ... If [the ruling]
came a month ago, it would be a different story."
"Edenfield's ruling resolved only one of several lawsuits pending before him
attacking UGA's admissions program. Plaintiffs' lawyers predict they will prevail in the
other cases as well, while advocates of the progam say they hope Edenfield's ruling will
be overturned on appeal. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 07/26/00 by Bill Rankin and Rebecca
UGA likely to appeal race ruling (07/27/00)
A Federal judge had ruled this week that
university discriminated against white women based on racial preferences.
ATHENS -- "The University of Georgia will
likely appeal a judge's ruling declaring the university's race-conscious entrance program
unconstitutional and condemning "naked racial balancing" in UGA admissions, a
spokesman said Tuesday.
"In a forceful, 17-page decision, released Tuesday by the state attorney general,
U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield summarily rejected UGA's argument that promoting
diversity for its own sake in admissions is a compelling state interest.
"The university has admitted about 90 percent of its students strictly on academic
performance. The rest were accepted on a combination of up to 12 characteristics,
including race and gender. Preferences are no longer given to male applicants. But in
September, Adams said the school would continue to use race-based bonus points in an
effort to remain representative of the total state population.
"The judge's order singles out that goal and the school's diversity rationale for
criticism. "UGA merely presumes, stereotypically, that all members of a
minority race will think, act, etc., differently from whites and thus 'contribute' to the
student body's 'overall educational experience,' " he wrote. "However,
this procrustean presumption is prohibited," he added, choosing a word that means
forcing conformity by ruthless or arbitrary means.
"Edenfield's ruling orders the admission of three plaintiffs -- Jennifer Johnson,
Aimee Bogrow and Molly Ann Beckenhauer -- who sued UGA for reverse discrimination after
their applications were rejected during a phase of 1999 admissions that considered race
and gender. The judge also required that they be reimbursed for some of the expenses paid
to other schools during the last school year.
"A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Atlanta attorney Harlan Miller, called the decision a
"big win" and applauded the judge for tackling the question of diversity goals,
a topic he said other court rulings on affirmative action have avoided.
"UGA erred, the judge said, in assuming that the "formless and malleable"
goal of diversity is reason enough to use racial preferences in choosing a student body.
"On May 23, Atlanta attorney Lee Parks, a partner of Miller's, filed two more reverse
discrimination lawsuits, one attacking admissions at the university's School of Law, the
other identifying 14 plaintiffs complaining of race discrimination in UGA admissions and
scholarship programs. Parks is in Ireland this week and was unavailable for
comment." (Savannah Morning News 07/27/00 by Joan Stroer of the Morris News
UGA's racial admissions policy rejected (07/25/00)
"The University of Georgia's race-conscious admissions program is unconstitutional, a
federal judge ruled Monday. In a strongly worded opinion, U.S. District Judge Avant
Edenfield of Savannah rejected UGA's arguments that the promotion of diversity in higher
education is a compelling state interest. "To base racial preferences upon an
amorphous, unquantifiable and temporarily unlimited goal is to engage in naked racial
balancing," Edenfield wrote.
"The judge ruled in favor of three white women denied admission to UGA in Athens in
1999. He also ordered the university to offer the women admission and to compensate them
for having to pay more money to attend other schools.
"UGA President Michael Adams said, "We respect the court and we want UGA
admissions to comply with federal law," he said. "We also want to be as
aggressive as possible within the law in attracting people of all races and
"The three white female plaintiffs Jennifer Johnson, Aimee Bogrow and Molly Ann
Beckenhauer -- would have been considered for admission had they been minority male
applicants, Edenfield noted. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 07/25/00 by Bill Rankin)
UGA admissions lawsuit revived (04/19/00)
Appeals court orders judge to reconsider
ruling that plaintiffs lacked standing. "The federal appeals court in
Atlanta has revived a lawsuit that accuses the state of using discriminatory admissions
policies at the University of Georgia and relegating its historically black colleges to a
mission of remedial education.
"In a unanimous decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal
judge in Savannah must reconsider his decisions that dismissed the 11 white and black
plaintiffs on the basis that they lacked standing to file their federal lawsuit.
"In November, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cases attacking race-based admissions
policies can go forward even if race did not play a role in the rejection of a plaintiff's
college application. U.S. District Judge Avant Edenfield now needs to consider that
reasoning, the 11th Circuit said.
"Atlanta lawyer Lee Parks, who represents the plaintiffs, predicted Edenfield will
reinstate the plaintiffs and find that the university system operates unconstitutional
"The lawsuit, filed in March 1997, demanded the regents upgrade the state's
historically black colleges -- Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State -- and
work out a way to attract more white students to them. It also called for an end to
policies used by the University of Georgia that use race as a factor in admissions.
"Edenfield has made it clear how he feels about UGA's policies, saying any racial
preference in admissions "stigmatizes" minority students. After reviewing the
evidence before him, the judge decided last summer that "UGA cannot constitutionally
justify the affirmative use of race in its admissions decisions."
"In the past, UGA has admitted about 90 percent of its students strictly on academic
performance. The rest were accepted on a combination of any of 12 characteristics,
including race. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 04/19/00 by Bill Rankin)
Georgia (University of Georgia): School Defies Courts,
Re-affirms Support for Quotas (10/01/99)
"Calling 'the twin goals of academic excellence and a diverse student population . .
. absolutely compatible,' University of Georgia President Michael Adams said Thursday that
race should remain a factor in evaluating some high school seniors applying for admission
"The announcement brought ... a dire prediction from the state attorney general and a
threat from the lawyer who challenged the standards that he would seek an injunction to
halt the policy.
"Although the [racial quota] policy will have to be ratified by the Faculty
Admissions Committee and the University Council, [University President] Adams, who has the
final say, effectively has committed the university to a costly, perhaps protracted, legal
battle. Some legal experts--including Attorney General Thurbert Baker--predict the
university has little chance of winning that fight.
"U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield chastised UGA in July  for using
race as a factor in admissions, saying the university couldn't constitutionally justify
"Upon learning of [University President] Adams' decision on Thursday, Atlanta
attorney Lee Parks said in a letter to the attorney general's office that the policy won't
hold up in court. Parks said he has 16 white females, all of whom were rejected by UGA,
who want to join a suit he filed in August against the admissions policies.
"The controversy over affirmative action and race-based policies--including the
lawsuits against UGA and threats against the city of Atlanta's affirmative action
programs--is likely to reignite debate in the Legislature over such issues, [according to
Georgia House Majority Leader Larry Walker (D-Perry)]." (The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution 10/01/99 by Rebecca McCarthy)
|Related / Similar:
U. of Georgia vows to keep race in
admissions policy (10/01/99 - dead link)
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) "The University of Georgia will continue to give some
students an edge in admissions because of their race a policy the state attorney
general said will be hard to defend in court. "We believe that using race as a factor
in admissions, but not as a sole determining factor, is a legitimate approach in
Georgia,'' school President Michael Adams said Thursday.
"The decision means the university will fight two pending lawsuits that contend the
policy discriminates against whites. Attorney General Thurbert Baker, whose office will
defend the university in court, said its prospects of winning aren't promising because
courts have grown more hostile to racial preferences. "While its chances of
prevailing are slim, the university is entitled to have its attorneys present its case in
court,'' Baker said in a statement. .... Atlanta attorney Lee Parks, who has filed three
lawsuits claiming the school's admissions policy discriminates against whites, said he
will keep the issue alive in the courts. "You've got a very politically heated
situation and I think people in those situations would rather the courts tell them to stop
doing something rather than for them to decide not to fight the fight,'' Parks said. ....
Adams also said the university is still not doing enough to recruit black students.
"There are still too many qualified Georgia minorities choosing to attend public and
private out-of-state schools that they perceive to be more prestigious,'' he
said." (Associated Press, via Fox News, 10/01/99 by Russ Bynum, AP)
Racial preferences seldom
win in court (10/01/99)
"University of Georgia President Michael Adams plunged UGA more deeply into the
unfriendly waters of the federal court system with his decision Thursday to continue using
race in the school's admissions policies. Over the past decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has
consistently struck down racial preference programs involving government contracting and
hiring. And the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in an influential ruling in 1996,
rejected racial preferences in admissions at the University of Texas. ... Victor Bolden of
the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said he believes UGA's admissions program would survive a
Bakke legal test. "I think this is certainly a program that is fully consistent with
the law out there today," he said.
"This is an affirmative action program which is carefully crafted and specifically
drawn to provide opportunities to have a diverse campus." UGA's admissions program is
not a quota, Bolden maintained. "It ensures that the school obtains highly qualified
students of all races," he said. "And given the history of this institution and
given the significance of having an African-American presence at this institution, the
admissions program is warranted."
".... Curt Levey, director of legal and public affairs for the Washington-based
Center for Individual Rights, noted that the philosophical composition of the Supreme
Court has changed greatly since the Bakke decision. "I think a decision like Bakke is
the best the liberals can hope for," he said. "And I don't even think they would
".... U.S. District Judge Avant Edenfield, who is presiding over the case, already
has strongly criticized UGA's racial preference policy. Any appeals of Edenfield's
eventual ruling would go to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta and,
possibly, to the U.S. Supreme Court. "I have been to both of those places," said
Parks, who has successfully argued reverse discimination voting rights cases before both
courts. "These courts are not sympathetic to this issue. They call it racial
balancing, that's their buzzword. And if UGA's plan can be reduced to a racial balancing
approach, and I believe it can, then it's out."" (The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution 10/01/99 by Bill Rankin)
Georgia (University of
Georgia): Pro-quota group
rips plan to end race points (09/13/99)
"If the University of Georgia abolishes racial preferences in admissions, the school
could revert to the days when most black students came mainly to play for the school's
revenue sports, black leaders meeting in Athens said this weekend.
"The Northeast Georgia Black Leadership Council met in emergency session and vowed to
oppose the end of [racial admissions quotas] for University of Georgia applicants,
especially if lower entrance standards for athletes remain on the books. ``We can't
stand back and let the predominantly white institutions get the best of both worlds,''
said Dexter Wimbish, the council's executive director. ``They're going to be able to
exclude our brightest [black] kids, but at the same time recruit our best [black]
athletes.'' [Duh! Imagine a University admitting students based on academic
standing and test scores regardless of race. Hmm. What a concept!]
"Whether the school will drop race as an entrance factor is subject to an ongoing
review since a federal judge ruled in July that the state's flagship university wrongly
awards bonus points to minority applicants.
"University President Michael Adams said last month that advisers have told him he's
on sound legal ground with [discriminatory race-based] admissions, which allows talented
students -- including athletes [and certain races] -- to enter below prevailing university
entrance standards." (The Augusta Chronicle 09/13/99 by Joan Stroer)
Georgia (University of Georgia): Race doomed
as factor at UGA? (08/20/99)
ATHENS - "Now that the University of Georgia has agreed to drop gender as a factor in
admissions, dropping race as a factor is inevitable, the lawyer who has battled the
university over its admissions policy said yesterday.
"President Michael Adams announced Wednesday that the state's flagship school would
no longer give males a slight advantage in admissions over females, who make up 60 percent
of this year's freshman class and 55 percent of the student body. Blacks, who make up 6
percent of the student body but 28 percent of the state population, also get a slight
"A woman has sued the university, saying her application was rejected because she's
white and female.
"The suit, filed Aug. 10 by Atlanta attorney Lee Parks, was the third attempt to end
the use of race in admissions decisions and Parks' first explicit challenge to the
school's gender preference.
"Parks said yesterday it was ''past time'' that the university removed the gender
preference. ''It took a lawsuit to make them do it, but now that they have done it they
are to be congratulated for doing the right thing,'' he said. (The Florida
Times-Union, based on newswires, 08/20/99)
Georgia (University of Georgia): Suit says gender, race
thwarted woman's admission (08/13/99)
"Should race and gender be eliminated as factors for admission? If Jennifer L.
Johnson were a black male, she would be a Bulldog by now. At least that is the
contention of Johnson's attorney, Lee Parks, who filed a suit on her behalf, claiming that
the University of Georgia's admissions policies discriminated against Johnson because she
is white and a woman. "She was clearly denied admission because of her sex and
race," said Parks, an Atlanta-based attorney. Parks filed the suit Tuesday in the
U.S. District Court in Savannah.
"U.S. District Court Judge John F. Nangle will hear the case. ... Johnson's suit is
Parks' second attempt to change UGA's admissions policies. In July, U.S. District
Judge B. Avant Edenfield of Savannah dismissed Parks' 1997 affirmative action lawsuit
against the Board of Regents on a technicality that the student applicant lacked standing
to bring his claims. But in his ruling, Edenfield condemned UGA's admissions
policies that allowed for racial preferences in admissions. "UGA cannot
constitutionally justify the affirmative use of race in its admissions decisions,"
Edenfield said at the time. ... "Like it or not, this institution is out front on a
matter on intense national debate," said UGA spokesman Tom Jackson, adding that the
university had not seen a copy of the suit and could not respond specifically. "After
the last ruling, it would be expected there would be another step. This administration has
been working with the appropriate state officials to determine a course of action and will
continue to do that as we respond." (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 08/13/99
by Ernie Suggs)
Stories - Newest First:
UGA reviews racial policies
"The University of Georgia is reviewing its admissions policies after a federal judge
ruled they stigmatize minority students and amount to reverse discrimination, UGA
President Michael F. Adams said Monday [07/12/99].
"U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield of Savannah dismissed a contentious
affirmative action lawsuit against the Board of Regents on a technicality that the student
applicant lacked standing to bring his claims. But the Regents' legal victory was
accompanied by the federal judge's stinging condemnation of UGA's policies that allow
racial preference in admissions. Citing "jaw-dropping" revelations that UGA's
admissions policies benefit only a handful of minority students, Edenfield said: "The
court would be remiss if it didn't briefly note what the record evidence now compels: UGA
cannot constitutionally justify the affirmative use of race in its admissions
"In response to court decisions nationwide striking down one affirmative action
program after another, UGA in 1995 abandoned its dual-track program. UGA now allows
race to be one of several factors that help applicants who fall below minimum grades and
test scores required for automatic admission.
"But UGA's current policy is more of the same, Edenfield wrote. 'In other
words, it's still the same ship; UGA has simply rearranged the deck chairs,' the judge
said. ... [Judge] Edenfield said UGA's desire for diversity was ill-defined and hard to
justify. 'State officials promote exactly what society does not need nor tolerate:
racial stereotyping, where government officials simply assume that blacks, for example,
think one way, and whites another,' Edenfield wrote. ". . . UGA officials evidently
employed racial preferences first and asked questions later.'" (The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution 07/13/99 by Bill Rankin and Rebecca McCarthy)
Judge pans Georgia admissions
policy for 'racial bonus points' (07/13/99 - dead link)
"The University of Georgia wrongly awards "racial bonus points" to minority
applicants, but didn't discriminate against a white student whose application was rejected
in 1997, a judge has ruled. U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield said Craig Green
would not have been admitted regardless of race, due to his academic record. But Edenfield
also said the university "cannot constitutionally justify the affirmative use of race
in its admission decisions." "The record shows, quite simply, that ... UGA
prefers one applicant over another based solely on race," Edenfield wrote in his July
6 ruling. "UGA officials evidently employed racial preferences first and asked
questions later." Green's lawsuit contended the University System of Georgia uses
racial quotas to illegally segregate public colleges." (CNN 07/13/99)
Race-Based Standards Declared Unconstitutional
"A federal judge in Savannah has ruled that the University of Georgia's now-discarded
practice of setting lower standards for blacks in admissions was unconstitutional.
But U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield stopped short of declaring it a basis for a
class action lawsuit, which would have enabled students affected by the policy in 1995 to
join the suit.
" 'The judge has confirmed you cannot use one track for one race and one track for
another race, and we would go even further than that and say you can't use race in this
haphazard fashion in which they've been doing it,' said Lee Adams, one of several Atlanta
lawyers representing some white students and employees in the reverse discrimination
lawsuit." (Savannah Morning News, 01-09-99, by Leonora Parker)
[ link http://www.savannahmorningnews.com:80/smn/stories/010999/LOCdiscriminationruling.html
Action for Men at U of Georgia
"THE CONCEPT of affirmative action for men sounds like the mocking response of a
majority group offended by minority entitlements. Yet, that effectively is what the
University of Georgia has been doing for three years in its admissions policies."
(Savanah Morning News 12/16/98)
Judge: Racial Quotas at U
Georgia Unconstitutional (Chronicle subcribers only)
"A federal judge has ruled that an
admissions policy used by the University of Georgia from 1990 to 1995 to grant preferences
to black applicants was unconstitutional. The judge, in rejecting an argument
championed by some groups that the system was needed to promote diversity, criticized the
'stigmatizing, polarizing costs imposed by racial classifications.' The ruling, by
U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield, has no practical impact on the university's
current admissions policy, which was changed in 1996. However, Judge Edenfield wrote that
he wanted to rule on the defunct policy anyway, to insure that it was not reinstated in
the future." (Chronicle of Higher Education, paid subscribers only, 01-11-99)
Students Sue University of Georgia for Discrimination
"If Craig Greene had been of African-American or black race he would have been
admitted to the University of Georgia as an undergraduate freshman during the 1997-1998
school year", Atlanta attorney A. Lee Parks wrote in a plaintiff's motion.
(Savannah Morning News 11/26/98)
See Also: UGA Vows Fight to Continue Quotas
END Education - (1) University of Georgia