Race Discrimination in Public Higher Education: Interpreting Federal Civil Rights Enforcement, 1964-1996

By John B. Williams | Go to book overview

2
Formal and Informal State Title VI Enforcement Patterns, 1970-1990 -- Case Study of the Georgia State University System

Chapter 1 usefully portrays important federal responses to passage of Title VI -- federal officials' findings of race inequity in state systems, changing interpretations of Title VI, reactions to litigation led by the Legal Defense Fund ( LDF). However, Title VI policymaking only begins in Washington. Federal courts, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and the Justice Department ultimately must coax or coerce state higher education systems into taking action. Of course, 19 state systems are involved, each one diverse and complex, with a wide range of institutional missions, governance structures, physical plants, and instructional programs. Manifestations of the race inequity problem also differ from one state system to another, and in view of all the important differences, state and local responses to federal enforcement not unexpectedly, but independently, vary over time in important ways.

Chapter 1 provided a variety of evidence that federal aspects of enforcement were demonstrably weak during the period 1970-1990. The federal district court in Washington, D.C., ruled on at least three occasions that OCR officials approved unpromising state plans and failed to monitor implementation adequately. However, Chapter I provided few details about state responses -- the content of unsatisfactory plans and compliance reports. Reaching accurate interpretive judgments about the evidence of Title VI compliance constitutes the work of government with which this study is concerned -- resolving the standoff between stakeholders

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