Arizona State University: Racial Restrictions on Class Enrollment (2005)

Category: Cases, Due Process
Schools: Arizona State University

After FIRE was notified of advertised racial restrictions on enrollment in a course on Navajo history, Arizona State University declared that two English classes listed on its website as “for Native Americans only” would be open to all students. While the university insisted that this declaration reflected a “long-standing practice” of enrolling students in the classes regardless of race, FIRE uncovered evidence showing the classes were racially segregated for at least eight years.

  • Arizona Segregation

    October 25, 2005

    Freshman Composition is a required course at virtually every liberal arts college in the United States — not only to ensure the grammatical correctness of students’ writing. Students are also supposed to practice thesis and support, learn argumentation techniques, and generally hone the logical skills expected by their teachers across the social sciences and humanities. Such skills are basic to the intellectual life of educated adults, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds. So a mini-scandal erupted earlier this month when the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) discovered that Arizona State University Professor G. Lynn Nelson was restricting enrollment in […]

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  • Arizona State Ends Class Limited to Native Americans

    October 7, 2005

    Arizona State University announced this week that it has told a professor that he may not limit enrollment in some class sections to Native American students. The professor believes that it was educationally and legally appropriate for him to have the separate sections. But the university barred him from continuing to do so after a civil rights group complained. Last month, the University of Oregon changed a policy that gave some minority students priority enrollment in some class sections. Oregon acted after a student filed a complaint with the U.S. Education Department. And the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, […]

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  • Charge of Bias Erupts Over a Course at Arizona State

    October 7, 2005

    For years, G. Lynn Nelson has taught a freshman composition course the only way he knows how. Instead of sitting in rows, students gather in a “feather circle.” Instead of sitting through lectures, students pass around a feather and share personal stories. And instead of allowing just any student to register for the course, the associate professor of English at Arizona State University explicitly restricted enrollment to Native American students. “For Native Americans only” read a description of his composition course on his faculty home page. A leading civil liberties group, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, brought to light […]

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  • Race requirement for class dropped

    October 7, 2005

    Although offering segregated classes is against federal law, until recently ASU enrolled students in an English class based on race. ASU has offered a first-year composition course designed specifically for Native American students for about eight years, said Robert Schibley, program manager for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The course took the normal English 101 and 102 curriculums and focused them on Native American topics. About 40 students are enrolled in two sections of the course this semester. FIRE, a national first amendment watchdog group that focuses on the educational arena, contacted ASU after learning this semester that […]

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  • Arizona State University Eliminates Speech Code, Earning FIRE’s ‘Green Light’ Rating

    February 1, 2011

    TEMPE, Ariz., February 1, 2011—This week, Arizona State University (ASU) eliminated its unconstitutional speech code, earning a coveted “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). While more than two-thirds of the nation’s colleges maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech, ASU is now a proud exception, having revised a policy that unconstitutionally restricted the free speech of students and student organizations on campus. “Arizona State University should be commended for making this simple but important change to guarantee the First Amendment rights of its students,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “We hope […]

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  • A Herd of Academic Minds

    November 1, 2005

    If there’s one word any college student knows, it’s “diversity.” Every university, it seems, is “committed” to diversity — or at least says it is. For example, Arizona State says on its Web site that it “champions diversity.” But the reality is sometimes a bit different. At the start of the year, ASU offered two English classes, ENG 101 and 102, taught by Professor G. Lynn Nelson. His Web page claimed, “My classes seek to help people discover within themselves the intertwined power of literacy and peace.” Apparently they do that through segregation. You see those classes were, “For Native […]

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  • Arizona State Disavows Racial Segregation in English Classes

    October 10, 2005

    TEMPE, Ariz., October 10, 2005—In response to pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Arizona State University (ASU) has declared that two English classes listed on its website as “for Native Americans only” are open to all students. While ASU insists that this reflects a “long-standing practice” of enrolling students in the classes regardless of race, FIRE has uncovered evidence showing the classes were racially segregated for at least eight years. “We are relieved that Arizona State quickly recognized that both the law and its own policies prohibit racially segregated classes,” remarked FIRE President David French. “However, […]

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  • FIRE Denounces Arizona State’s Reintroduction of Segregated Classes

    October 7, 2005

    For the second time in less than four years, Arizona State University is limiting certain classes to “Native American” students only. However, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is accusing the university of racial segregation and has written a letter to the school, demanding that the classes be opened to all students. Enrollment in the so-called “rainbow sections” of Professor Lynn Nelson’s English 101 and 102 composition courses at Arizona State University (ASU) are restricted to Native Americans only. But Greg Lukianoff, FIRE’s director of legal and public advocacy, believes the restricted sections are a violation of state […]

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  • Arizona State Claims Segregation Never Happened—But Evidence Says Differently

    October 6, 2005

    Yesterday, FIRE publicly exposed a racially segregated freshman composition class for “Native Americans only” at Arizona State University (ASU). The “Rainbow Sections” of English 101 and 102, taught by Professor G. Lynn Nelson, were listed in at least two places on ASU’s website as “for Native Americans only.” FIRE pointed out that these mentions of the racial restrictions on enrollment had silently vanished from their website, but we hadn’t heard any disavowal of the requirements from ASU, so we took the case public. Today, FIRE finally received a response from Arizona State in the mail (dated September 29, postmarked October […]

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  • ASU denies classes restricted

    October 5, 2005

    Arizona State University officials say two English classes advertised by a professor as ”restricted to Native Americans only” never in fact used race as a qualification for class admission. Responding to a letter from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, ASU Provost Milt Glick said that information on a flier and on a professor’s university-sanctioned Web site erred in suggesting that the classes only accepted students of American Indian decent. ”The Web site … has been changed to reflect the long-standing practice of admitting any student who seeks admittance into these courses,” Glick wrote in response to […]

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  • Arizona State: ‘A New American University’?

    October 5, 2005

    Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael M. Crow brags on his website that his is to be “a new American university.” He adds, “We are committed to building a new kind of university, one whose fate is tied to our collective fate, and one committed to the collective good.” Unfortunately, Crow’s conception of what is in the interests of “the collective good” violates the U.S. Constitution. As FIRE is reporting today, ASU is currently offering two segregated sections of a freshman English course, under the Orwellian moniker “Rainbow Sections.” No matter how good ASU’s intentions may be in offering those […]

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  • Racial Segregation Lives On at Arizona State University

    October 5, 2005

    TEMPE, Ariz., October 5, 2005—State-sponsored racial segregation has found a home at Arizona State University (ASU).  ASU’s ironically named “Rainbow Sections” of English 101 and 102 have been advertised on flyers and on the university’s website as being open to “Native Americans only.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has written to the university to demand that the classes be opened to all students. Shockingly, this marks the second time in less than four years that FIRE has been forced to protest a racially segregated course at ASU. “It is appalling that ASU would resurrect segregated classes five […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Arizona State University President Michael Crow, September 23, 2005

    September 23, 2005

    September 23, 2005 President Michael M. Crow Office of the President Arizona State University PO Box 877705 Tempe, Arizona 85287-7705 Sent by U.S. Mail and Facsimile (480-965-0865) Dear President Crow: As you can see from the list of our Directors and Board of Advisors, FIRE unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, legal equality, academic freedom, due process, and freedom of speech on America’s college campuses.  Our website, thefire.org, will give you a greater sense of our identity and activities. In […]

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