US v. State of La., Civ. A. No. 80-3300.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
Citation692 F. Supp. 642
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 80-3300.
PartiesUNITED STATES of America v. STATE OF LOUISIANA, et al.
Decision Date02 August 1988

692 F. Supp. 642


Civ. A. No. 80-3300.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana.

August 2, 1988.

692 F. Supp. 643

Wm. Bradford Reynolds, Asst. Atty. Gen. for Civil Rights, Nathaniel Douglas, Franz R. Marshall, T.A., LeVern M. Younger, Zita Johnson-Betts, Educational Opportunities Section, Civil Rights Div., U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for plaintiff.

Mack E. Barham, T.A., Margaret E. Woodward, Lynette F. Judge, Barham & Churchill, New Orleans, La., for Bd. of Regents.

Robert A. Kutcher, T.A., Jan Marie Hayden, Julia Mandala, Bronfin, Heller, Steinberg & Berins, New Orleans, La., for Bd. of Trustees.

W. Shelby McKenzie, T.A., Nancy C. Tyler, Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips, Baton Rouge, La., for Bd. of Sup'rs of LSU.

Henry N. Brown Jr., Dist. Atty., Benton, La., for Bossier Parish School Bd.

William J. Guste Jr., Atty. Gen., Winston G. DeCuir, T.A., Chief, Civ. Div., Loretto M. Babst, Asst. Atty. Gen., Russell R. Hodges II, Staff Atty., John N. Kennedy, Sp. Counsel to the Governor, Baton Rouge, La., for State of La. and for Bd. of Elementary and Secondary Educ.

Thomas N. Todd, Chicago, Ill., for amicus curiae Grambling State Univ. Alumni Ass'n.

Before WISDOM, Circuit Judge, and SCHWARTZ and WICKER, District Judges.


CHARLES SCHWARTZ, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment on the issue of liability. For the following reason, the Court now GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART plaintiff's motion, GRANTS motions of defendants Bossier Parish School Board and BESE, and DENIES all other defendants' motions.

This is a college discrimination suit. Alleging that Louisiana had been maintaining a dual system of public higher education on the basis of race in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the United States commenced this suit in March 1974 against the State of Louisiana and its various State boards that oversee the State's public institutions of higher learning. In

692 F. Supp. 644
September 1981, the Court approved a consent judgment, 527 F.Supp. 509. In December 1987, the United States moved pursuant to certain terms in the decree for hearing to determine whether defendants have fully implemented all provisions of the decree and are operating a unitary system of public higher education. The Court has set the trial (both for this issue of liability and, if liability is found, for the issue of remedy) for September 1988

Each side asserting that no trial is needed on the issue of liability, both sides now cross-move for summary judgment on this issue. All agree that the State operated a de jure segregated system of public higher education prior to the enactment of Title VI and has not implemented all provisions of the 1981 decree and that most all of the State's public institutions of higher learning remain racially identifiable; beyond this, however, the parties disagree. On the one hand, the United States, along with the predominantly black institutions, argues that unlawful vestiges of State's former de jure segregated system will remain unless the State spends the additional money contemplated under the decree. On the other hand, the State argues that the full implementation of the decree provisions would actually promote segregation and that the State has implemented sufficient good faith efforts at ending the dual system so as to warrant a dismissal of the entire case.

For the instant motions, the parties have submitted hundreds of pages of briefs and exhibits. Unfortunately, the parties have concentrated the vast bulk of their efforts on the issue of remedy and on an improper standard of liability. As explained below, the Court finds, except as to the Bossier Parish Community College and the St. Bernard Parish Community College, that Louisiana is continuing to operate an unlawful, dual system of public higher education in violation of Title VI.



The material facts for the issue of liability are not in dispute. Up to at least 1954, Louisiana had a system of higher education segregated by race under state law. Not until some time after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did Louisiana discontinue its official recognition of its institutions of higher education as being either for "whites" or for "blacks." The present admissions policies to all of Louisiana's public institutions of higher education no longer discriminate on the basis of race or otherwise; any Louisiana citizen who has graduated high school may attend the Louisiana public college of his choice, regardless of the person's academic qualifications. All parties agree that "publicly financed higher education in Louisiana is paid for primarily with state and federal funds" and that Louisiana's state-supported colleges and universities have and continue to receive federal funds.

Louisiana has twenty institutions1 of higher education each of which is under the supervision of the Board of Regents and one of the three other higher education boards. The four institutions that were originally established as "black" schools (Southern University-Baton Rouge, Southern University-New Orleans, Southern University-Shreveport/Bossier City, and Grambling State University)2 remain predominantly black. The eleven institutions that were originally established as "white" schools (LSU-Baton Rouge, LSU-Shreveport,

692 F. Supp. 645
UNO, LSU Law School, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northeast Louisiana University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana State, and the University of Southwestern Louisiana)3 remain predominantly, and disproportionately, white. Four of the other schools (LSU-Alexandria, LSU-Eunice, LSU Medical Center, and LSU Agricultural Center), whose full histories have not been provided to this Court, are all predominantly, and disproportionately, white. Only one institution, Delgado Community College, appears not to have a student body of predominantly one race.4 The enrollment statistics by race for 1981, when the consent decree was implemented, and 1987, the last year of the consent decree, are as follows:5

 1981 1987
                 # % # % # % # %
                 DELGADO 3,371 40.1% 4,348 51.7% 8,404 2,270 32.0% 4,133 58.3% 7,094
                 GRAMBLING 3,777 98.5% 44 1.1% 3,834 5,435 96.7% 180 3.2% 5,623
                 LA TECH 1,194 11.6% 8,489 82.5% 10,288 1,132 11.4% 7,492 75.1% 9,970
                 McNEESE 1,062 15.3% 5,706 82.2% 6,943 970 13.2% 6,255 85.0% 7,359
                 NICHOLLS 1,068 15.0% 5,954 83.6% 7,119 857 12.1% 6,060 85.9% 7,057
                 NORTHEAST 2,431 22.0% 8,544 77.2% 11,071 1,543 15.6% 8,165 82.7% 9,877
                 NORTHWESTERN 1,296 19.4% 4,448 66.6% 6,682 1,263 20.7% 4,494 73.8% 6,090
                 SOUTHEASTERN 1,112 12.6% 7,633 86.2% 8,854 518 6.4% 7,423 91.8% 8,089
                 SOUTHWESTERN 2,380 17.4% 10,931 79.8% 13,702 2,523 17.8% 11,195 79.0% 14,172
                 LSU A 151 9.9% 1,357 88.8% 1,528 202 10.0% 1,762 88.2% 2,020
                 LSU BR 1,688 6.3% 22,832 84.7% 26,964 2,027 7.9% 22,714 88.0% 25,821
                 LSU E 237 15.5% 1,283 84.0% 1,528 198 11.5% 1,510 87.8% 1,720
                 LSU LAW 16 1.9% 830 96.1% 864 6 0.8% 689 96.0% 718
                 LSU S 315 7.6% 3,803 91.5% 4,155 359 8.2% 3,871 88.9% 4,353
                 UND 2,491 16.1% 11,519 74.6% 15,432 2,448 15.5% 12,121 76.5% 15,836
                 SU BR 7,655 86.4% 228 2.6% 8,855 8,654 92.7% 438 4.7% 9,338
                 SU NO 1,994 82.4% 11 0.5% 2,420 3,185 87.1% 400 10.9% 3,657
                 SU S 661 99.8% 1 0.2% 662 308 94.5% 41 4.8% 855
                 TOTAL 32,899 23.6% 97,961 70.3% 139,305 34,398 24.6% 98,963 70.9% 139,649

Despite the slight increase in black enrollment statewide, the racial polarization has increased as a whole during the term of the consent decree: the predominantly white institutions had about 2000 fewer black students in 1987 than in 1981, while the predominantly black institutions showed only a negligible increase in white enrollment from around 0.3% in 1981 to around 1.1% in 1987. In 1981, around 55% of the black students enrolled at institutions of public higher education in the state were enrolled at predominantly white institutions, while in 1987 the corresponding figure fell significantly to about 47%.

Further, a close look at the documents submitted to the Court pursuant to the consent decree suggest that even these abysmal statistics may inaccurately suggest a better racial balance than is reality. Under the consent decree, an exchange student who takes only nine credit hours at another school may be counted as being a full-time student enrolled at that other school,6 even though the regular state requirement for full-time credit is at least twelve hours of school work. Further, under the decree, an exchange program between UNO and SUNO, among other exchange programs between other proximate state schools, was established. As the program was implemented, certain courses required for graduation at UNO could only

692 F. Supp. 646
be taken at SUNO,7 although there was not a reciprocal requirement for SUNO students.8 The effect, then, was to have UNO (white) students being forced to take occasional classes at SUNO and being counted towards SUNO's voluntary student enrollment, thereby giving a deceptive appearance that the white student enrollment at SUNO was higher than in actuality

The four board governing these twenty schools suffer from similar racial identifiability. The Southern Board remains over three-fourths black, while the other three boards are between 70% and 80% white.

In sum, as the Board of Regents states in the first paragraph of its memorandum in support of its motion, "that the racial identifiability of Louisiana's public colleges and universities persists today is ... undisputed."


On January 13, 1969, October 21, 1969, May 21, 1973, and November 10, 1973, authorized representatives of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) sent the appropriate agents of the State of Louisiana letters charging that...

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