Defining Collegiate Desegregation
Whenever this issue of compensatory or preferential treatment for the Negro is raised; some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should ask for nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic. For it is obvious that if a man is entering the starting line in a race three hundred years after another man, the first would have to perform some impossible feat in order to catch up with his fellow runner.
M. L. King, 1964, p. 134
The current aspirations of collegiate desegregation are to dismantle dual systems of higher education, establish unitary systems devoid of vestiges of de jure segregation, and be freed from the continuous oversight of the executive and judicial arms of the federal government. However, an uncertainty exists regarding the future relationship between the state systems of higher education and those governmental bodies charged with implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Questions concerning the length, breadth, and scope of compliance persist. Can a state system alter its desegregation plan or postsecondary structure after it has attained unitary status, or must it maintain the amorphous and elusive racial balance