A small community college in Kansas is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for telling its coaches to recruit more white athletes and for targeting Black prospective students with more scrutiny such as background checks before offering scholarships, according to the lawsuit.
The ACLU took legal action on Thursday towards Highland Community College, which according to KMBC News, “instituted a plan six months ago to reduce the number of black students.”
The lawsuit says the college’s actions including singling out Black students for dorm room and vehicle searches as well as expelling Black students for minor or bogus infractions. Eric Ingmire, the vice president of student services, is listed in the lawsuit as a defendant along with Bryan Dorrel, the school’s athletic director. The suit was filed on behalf of four former and current students.
Highland Community College is made up of more than 3,200 students, 87% of whom are white. However, the football team was mostly Black at one point with 104 players out of 111 being Black during the 2019 season. The 2020 football recruiting group includes “a significantly lower number” of Black athletes, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit says Dorrel told coaches to recruit “more local kids” and “less Southern kids.”
The ACLU “is the nation’s largest public interest law firm, with a 50-state network of staffed, autonomous affiliate offices,” according to its website. “We appear before the United States Supreme Court more than any other organization except the U.S. Department of Justice. About 100 ACLU staff attorneys collaborate with about 2,000 volunteer attorneys in handling close to 2,000 cases annually.”
The group defends civil liberties throughout the country and has been involved in cases protecting free speech, reproductive rights and equal education and opportunity.
Meanwhile, various college campuses across the country continue to experience systematic and explicit racism. Just this week, a nationally ranked men’s lacrosse program at Amherst College was put on probation for the 2021 spring season for an instance of racism and the head coach Jon Thompson was fired.
According to The Daily Hampshire Gazette, the men’s team chanted the N-word at a Black lacrosse player. The incident was first reported by the Amherst Student on March 11. According to the report, the Black student punched one of his teammates who was using the racial slur.” Every team member will have to complete an educational course selected by Catherine Epstein, provost and dean of the faculty, with input from the athletic director Don Faulstick and the chief diversity and inclusion officer.
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