Friday November 11, 2005

Justice Department Language Toward SIU Inflammatory

UD race law professor says 'anti-white' label on Southern Illinois University programs by U.S. Department of Justice hurts race relations.

A University of Dayton race law expert says U.S. Justice Department language labeling three Southern Illinois University fellowship programs as "anti-white" does nothing but stoke the flames of race relations.

"The Justice Department could have used the term 'discriminatory,'" said Vernellia Randall. "The language is inflammatory and takes the discussion to a different level. You still can discriminate without being anti-anything."

The U.S. Supreme Court case involving the University of Michigan that ruled race could be a factor, or even a dominant factor, in the university admissions process may not apply to the SIU situation, according to Randall.

"That case applied to the university admissions process and not necessarily apply to the application process for fellowships or scholarships," Randall said.

Randall added that, under the law, there are different standards in different areas of affirmative action.
Programs such as SIU's are designed to close the gap on racial disparities, according to Randall, who has been sought out by the national media about race law issues and will be a guest on National Public Radio's "Marketplace" at 6 p.m. today. She sees no problem with the programs even if they exclude whites.

"In this new world where we are fast approaching a nation where the number of minorities equal the number of whites, how will the racial gap ever be closed unless there are programs like this," Randall said. "It's like saying there is a gender disparity but we won't give a preference to women. How can anyone expect to make up the difference?"
Randall feels using such language fuels a perception that anything that benefits minorities is "anti-white" and creates an air of victimization of whites.

For interviews, contact Vernellia Randall in her office at (937) 229-3378 or at home at
(937) 274-9079.