The U.S. Office of Civil Rights has dismissed a recent black graduate's complaints that racial discrimination permeates student life at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
The finding, the product of an official federal inquiry that began more than a year ago, was returned in the case of Kendrix M. Easley of Henry County, Va., who graduated from the university in 1977. Easley, an A-minus student and one of the first blacks to chair the university's prestigious honor committee, had charged in his complaint that:
He himself had been harassed by the honor committee and by "biased stories" in the student newspaper, the Cavalier Daily.
The university allowed the students.
Black students were "targets of physical threats from white students and were intimidated from entering certain buildings."
The university allowed the "chanting of racial slurs" at sporting events.
The school's traditional honor system was "being used disparately as a means of discrimination against black students."
In a Feb. 2 letter to university President Frank Hereford, Dewey Dodds, regional director of the Office of Civil Rights, said a lengthy analysis of documents, plus interviews with university officials and with black students, had found the charges essentially "without merit."
The letter said civil rights investigators found "no racial motivation" in any political conflicts between Easley and other members of the honor committee and said stories of the conflicts published in the student newspaper reflected "reasonable reporting concerns" and were bolstered by "ample ple pro-Easley views."
The report said university police on occasion did stop black students for "what were perceived by black students as frivilous reasons" and said "this has given rise to the feeling of suspicious treatment." But it said no other such complaints had been received and investigators were unaware "to what extent white students are subject to the same treatment."
The question of occasional racial slurs at sporting events "appears to be a problem," the letter said, but it noted that the University's standards of conduct officially forbid such slurs and the university's judiciary committee "provides a means of dealing with such behavior.'
Easley himself, the letter said, had brought to the attention of investigators the case of a student charged with racial slurs who was dealt with by the judiciary committee "to the satisfaction of the complaining party."
As for use of the honor code against blacks, the report said, it found only one year when the proportion of blacks dismissed was in any way unusual, and said the trial procedures of the system "rigidly guarantee the rights of the accused."