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Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
University accused of 'racial balancing'
students
The university says it wants to "remain representative of the total state population"
A United States university which discriminates in order to admit more black students has been told to offer places to three white women it rejected.

A federal judge also ordered the University of Georgia (UGA) to pay compensation to the women following a ruling that its admissions programme was unconstitutional.

District judge Avant Edenfield, of Savannah, rejected the university's arguments that promoting diversity in higher education was of compelling state interest.

He said: "To base racial preferences upon an amorphous, unquantifiable and temporarily unlimited goal is to engage in naked racial balancing."

He ruled in favour of the three white women denied places last year, ordering that they be compensated for having to pay more money to attend other institutions.

Possible appeal

University president Dr Michael Adams said he would take legal advice before deciding whether to appeal against the ruling.

"We respect the court and we want UGA admissions to comply with federal law.

"We also want to be as aggressive as possible within the law in attracting people of all races and backgrounds."

The university has admitted about 90% of its students strictly on academic performance, with the rest accepted on a combination of up to 12 characteristics, including race and gender.

The judge noted that that the three white women would have been considered for admission if they had been minority male applicants.

Dr Adams said preferences were no longer given to male applicants, but in September the university would still use race-based preferences to try to remain representative of the total state population.

University systems in other states have been prevented from similar discrimination.

After a 1996 federal appeals court ruling, a judge banned Texas universities from using race as a factor in admissions policies.

Florida universities are also banned from considering race and gender in admissions.

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