The State of Virginia agreed to further desegregate its system of higher education yesterday by increasing the enrollment of black students at predominantly white universities by 150 percent during the next five years.
The state and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare announced agreement on a desegregation plan at simultaneous press conferences in Richmond and Washington, ending nearly 10 years of fighting over the issue. The agreement, if approved by the governing boards of Virginia's 39 public colleges and universities and carried out in "good faith," would eliminate the threat that the federal government would cut off nearly $75 million in aid to higher education.
The plan requires the state to encourage white students to enroll in the state's overwhelmingly black institutions, Norfolk State College and Virginia State College, but a numerical goal for this effort will not be set until 1979.
In addition, the plan state that Virginia officials will give priority consideration to the two black colleges when state officials are deciding where to place new undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Virginia Gov. John N. Dalton said, "I believe that if we proceed in good faith in accordance with the objectives and schedules in the plan, we will at last have reached a permanent accord with federal authorities on this vitally important matter."
Dalton's predecessor, Mills E. Godwin, had labeled HEW demands that the state set goals and timetables for desegregation "quotas" and refused to submit to them. Godwin said he "would never agree on Virginia's behalf to the dismantling of our system of higher education.
Dalton said that the goals and objectives in the plan are not quotes. "The plan makes it clear on Virginia's part, and HEW has agreed that the state is in no way committed to racial quotas."
"Quotas are something that you're bound by," the governor said. "If we don't reach the goals we have set in these schedules and if we have made a good lash effort do reach the goals I don't expect any retaliation," he said.
HEW Secretary Joseph A. Califano yesterday prasied "Dalton's superb leadership" in reaching the agreement. The plan. Califano said,"promises new edcational oppertanities for black students the state."
He said the plan like those received for Arkansas Oklahoma. Georgia and Horica, "shows that complex desegregation problems can be dealt with in a fair and just manner when federal and state officials are determined to negotiate in good farm."
Califano said the plan will become final after it is approved by the boards of visitors of each state-supported institution of higher eduction. Dalton said he had met with the presidents of the state-supported colleges and universities and "all of them are in agreement that this is a proper approach."
University of Virginia President Frank L. Hereford Jr. said. "I am pleased that Gov. Dalton is making an effort to resolve the issue between the state and HEW. When we receive the final version of the plan we awill analyze its impact on the university and present it to the board of visitors for action.
The board of visitors at predominantly black Virginia State College adopted a resolution yesterday commending Dalton "for the objective and positive approach he has taken in dealing with this crisis." A college spokesmen said the plan before taking a formal vote on it.
Dalton said he doesn't belive that the plan "will do violence to Virginia's system of higher education . . . Before I agreed to submit the plan, I consulted with the best academic, legal and political minds I could find, and I am convinced that in the long run, the alternative of a flat refusal would have been far more detrimental to higher education in Virginia.
A Dalton aide said the governor had discussed the HEW negotiations with House Speaker John Warren Cooke and Cooke supported the governor's approach.
Dalton said, "I recognize that my decision may not be altogether a popular one, but if indeed it proves to be a solution to this pressing and continuing problem. I believe our people will ultimately agree that I took the proper course."
Specifically, the plan calls for:
Increasing black enrollment in the statewide system for higher education so that the percentage of black high school graduates entering college will be the same as the percentage of white high school graduates entering college.
According to HEW 36.9 percent of black high school graduates attend state supported colleges and universities in comparison to 53.9 percent of white Virginia high school graduates. However, state officials disagree with HEW's figures.
According to Virginia officials, 41.7 percentage of white Virginia high school graduates attend state supported colleges and universities as opposed to 37 percent of black high school graduates.
Dalton said "probably less than 600 total (black) students" would have to be enrolled in state-supported colleges to meet this goal.
Increasing by at least 150 percent the number of blacks admitted to predominantly white institutions during the next five years.
Black enrollment at the tradition-all white four-year institutions ranges from 2.2 percent at Clinch Valley College in Southwest Virginia to 17 percent at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The University of Virginia in Charlottesville and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blackburg, two of the largest universities in the state, have 4.2 per cent and 2.3 per cent black enrollment, respectively.
Dalton said he expects some colleges will reach or exceed the 150 percent black admissions increase, but others, like the University of Virginia, will not reach that goal.
Establishing a special scholarship program to provide $1,000 annually to gifted black high school graduates who choose to attend predominantly white colleges and gifted white high school graduates who select predominantly black institutions.
This program which will cost $530,000 in 1979 and $2.1 million by 1982, will have to be approved by the Virginia General Assembly.
Dalton said scholarships will continue to be provided for blacks who attend the predominantly black colleges and whites who attend the predominantly white colleges.
Allowing Norfolk State College and Virginia State College to participate in the Eminent Scholars Program, which provides state funds to attract nationally recognized faculty members. This program, in which the two colleges will receive $30,000 each in 1979, will help attract white faculty members, Dalton said. This program also needs the approval of the Virginia General Assembly.
Studying the offerings at Norfolk State College (predominantly black), Old Dominion University (predominantly white) and Tidewater Community Colleges - all located in the Tidewater area - to eliminate duplications of educationally unnecessary programs.
The study, which is to be completed by July 31, will determine if any course offerings should be reelocated.
Dalton said there will be "no mergers of institutions" under the plan.
Giving priority consideration in two predominantly black collegees.
Unlike some of the other college desegregation plans submitted by the four other states whose plans have been submitted; Virginia's plan does not list any new programs to be offered at the two black colleges.
Dalton said the State Council of Higher Education has the authority to approve new programs only after those programs are requested by the two predominantly black colleges.
Establishing a biracial citizens advisory/monitoring committee composed of 30 members, of whom at least half will be blacks and other minorities, appointed by the governor. The committee will assist Secretary of Education J. Wade Gilley in implementing the plan.