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Universities cut programs for minorities

May 13, 2003

Several public and private universities, including Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have announced they will eliminate or alter summer programs and scholarships that accept only minorities, according to the May 7 issue of The Chicago Tribune.

The schools' decisions follow threats from two anti-affirmative action groups to file complaints with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.
May 13, 2003

Several public and private universities, including Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have announced they will eliminate or alter summer programs and scholarships that accept only minorities, according to the May 7 issue of The Chicago Tribune.

The schools' decisions follow threats from two anti-affirmative action groups to file complaints with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

At least 10 schools have indicated they will amend or eliminate the programs that were challenged, said Robert Blum, legal affairs director at the American Civil Rights Institute.

Letters from the Center for Equal Opportunity and the American Civil Rights Institute described why programs exclusively for African Americans cannot withstand legal scrutiny and announced a deadline by which the institution must reply or risk a federal civil rights investigation. They allege that race-specific programs violate Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which says schools receiving federal funds cannot use race, color or national origin in determining program eligibility.

In a statement, the Office for Civil Rights said any race-exclusive program must be justified by a compelling interest, such as an obligation to remedy the effects of racial discrimination. "Generally, programs that use race or national origin as sole eligibility criteria are extremely difficult to defend," it said.