Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

New Round of Fordice Hearings While Board Considers Privatizing Ole Miss

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

New Round of Fordice Hearings While Board Considers Privatizing Ole Miss

Article excerpt

JACKSON, Miss.--U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. has told the Mississippi College Board to prepare for a new round of court hearings in the 24-year-old Ayers v. Fordice lawsuit that accuses the state of favoring White colleges over historically Black ones.

But Alvin Chambliss, an attorney representing plaintiffs, says the order will do nothing to speed up desegregation at Mississippi's eight public universities.

"We had filed an appeal in the 5th Circuit [Court of Appeals] 10 days prior to his order. So it seems it's nothing more than an attempt to show the appeals court that something is being done in the case," says Chambliss, a law professor at Texas Southern University.

And in a related development, board member James Luvene of Holly Springs has proposed making the University of Mississippi a private institution as part of the settlement in the desegregation case.

In an order issued earlier this month that called for the new round of hearings, Biggers also prohibited the board from taking any action that could affect the desegregation of higher education unless it is first cleared by him. He directed the college board to prepare for hearings into disparities in equipment at schools and the awarding of scholarships tied to American College Test (ACT) scores. …

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