4/7/2010 3:39:00 AM,
Jacqueline J. Holness
ALBANY, Ga. (CN) - The NAACP claims Georgia continues to have a two-track system of higher education, one for white students and a lesser one for blacks. The plaintiffs, which include students at Savannah State and Fort Valley State, say Georgia's highest-ranking officials "have never dismantled the dual system of public higher education and have taken affirmative action to perpetuate racial dualism in public higher education."
More than 90 percent of students at the state's historically black colleges, such as Albany State University, Fort Valley State University and Savannah State University are black, according to the federal complaint.
Fewer than 10 percent of students at Georgia's historically white colleges, such as Georgia College & State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Kennesaw State University and North Georgia College and State University are black.
The NAACP and black students claim that the segregated system continues, although more than 30 years ago, "under pressure from the plaintiff NAACP, other civil rights organizations, the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the federal courts, defendants committed to dismantling the dual system of public higher education and, in a series of submissions to the United States, outlined their strategy for doing so."
But Georgia never did so, the NAACP says. It claims the state failed to take appropriate measures at historically black colleges, including allocating capital funds for facility improvements, implementing academic programs and establishing professional, specialized and doctoral programs - all of which would attract white students to the schools.
The plaintiffs ask the court to order Georgia to "implement remedial measures sufficient and adequate to dismantle the dual system while strengthening the HBCUs. [historically black colleges and universities]."
The plaintiffs' lead counsel is John M. Clark of Elberton, Ga.
The defendants are the State of Georgia, Gov. Sonny Perdue, Chancellor Erroll B. Davis, and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.