Black Students Threaten to Sue IUPUI over Alleged Inequities

AP, Nov. 4, 2006

A group of black students at Indiana-Purdue University-Indianapolis is threatening to sue the college over alleged discrimination.

The IUPUI Black Student Union said it would file a lawsuit Monday unless officials agree to provide a new black cultural center, more black faculty and $78,000 for black student groups.

The group also wants sensitivity training for administrators and an undergraduate degree program in African-American studies.

“We’re not asking for anything outlandish,” said IUPUI senior Dominic Dorsey, 24, who heads the group. “We’re asking for what’s due to us to make us feel comfortable on a Euro-centric campus.”

In a nine-page letter delivered to administrators this week, the group complained that officials turned down black students’ requests to use a student activity fund and that some white officials have been disrespectful to black students.

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IUPUI officials have made racial diversity a top goal, aiming to boost the school’s minority student enrollment from 15 percent to about 18 percent. Officials also want to boost minority graduation rates at the 30,000 student campus.

“People are working hard to make IUPUI a diversity-positive campus,” said Karen Whitney, IUPUI’s vice chancellor for student life and diversity. “We evaluate ourselves harshly, and we’ve not been satisfied.”

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