New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

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Admissions; Affirmative Action; Affirmative Action; Students; Equal Protection

Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (D. Mass. June 2, 2017)

Memorandum Opinion and Order denying Harvard College’s Motion to Dismiss. Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA), a nonprofit organization of voluntary members whose mission is to defend human and civil rights secured by law, filed suit alleging that Harvard uses racially and ethnically discriminatory policies and procedures in administering its undergraduate admissions program in violation of Title VI and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, SFFA contends that Harvard’s general consideration of race in its undergraduate admissions program violates the Equal Protection Clause because it allegedly engages in unlawful “racial balancing.” Additionally, SFFA alleges that Harvard's policies invidiously discriminate against Asian-American applicants in particular by admitting only a limited number of Asian-American applicants each year. Harvard challenged the SFFA’s standing to file suit, primarily based on the argument that SFFA’s members play no meaningful role in the organization and therefore SFFA cannot genuinely represent them for the purposes of associational standing. The court concluded that SFFA, as an organization of actual members, did not need to meet the “indicia of membership” test to assert associational standing and that it met all the remaining standing prerequisites.

Affirmative Action; Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity; Retaliation; Disability Discrimination

Ragland v. Dallas County Community College District (N.D. Tex. Mar. 31, 2017)

Memorandum Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part the Dallas County Community College District’s (DCCCD) Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff claimed that while she was employed by DCCCD as an Academic Advisor, DCCCD discriminated against her in violation of Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and that it retaliated against her for bringing allegations of discriminatory treatment. The alleged adverse employment actions that triggered Plaintiff’s suit included refusing to promote her, not providing additional development opportunities, failing to accommodate her cognitive rehabilitation after she suffered a stroke, failing to accommodate her other physical conditions, and denying her a position at another DCCCD institution. She filed two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints against DCCCD. The court dismissed as time-barred all discrimination claims alleged in Plaintiff’s first EEOC complaint but allowed the claims alleged in the second EEOC complaint to proceed.