Suit Filed over California Community College "Bridge" Classes

By Wright, Scott W. | Black Issues in Higher Education, January 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

Suit Filed over California Community College "Bridge" Classes


Wright, Scott W., Black Issues in Higher Education


Suit Filed Over California Community College "Bridge" Classes.

The California Community College system's affirmative action policies once again are under assault, this time over classes specifically tailored for Blacks, Hispanics, women and others.

Critics call it a battle over equal access to the classroom that could end what they see as more than a decade of de facto racial segregation by the California system. With 71 districts, it is the nation's largest.

"Community colleges statewide are engaging in a concerted effort to deny certain students equal opportunity because of their race," says Robert Corry, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento. The conservative litigation group represents Janice Camarena, a 25-year-old pre-nursing student at San Bernadino Valley Community College, who says that she was booted from a freshman English class reserved for Black students.

"I couldn't believe when the instructor tossed me out of the class because my skin was the wrong color," says Camarena, a white mother of three, whose former husband was Hispanic.

Camarena filed suit in the federal court in Sacramento earlier this year. The case is not scheduled to go to trial until next year, but the system recently turned over thousands of pages of documents regarding such programs.

"We do have programs where the services are designed for students of a given minority," says Tom Nassbaum, vice chancellor and general counsel for the California system.

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