University accused of racism for scrapping costly sports program that was over 73% White
Central Michigan University is facing allegations of racial discrimination from the Office of Civil Rights and the ACLU for cutting its men's field and track program.
The 2019-20 men's team was 75% White according to an email obtained by Campus Reform.
Central Michigan University (CMU) received a letter from the Office of Civil Rights on Apr. 25 that explained a complaint was filed that claimed the university discriminated against African Americans when the men's track and field team was cut.
“The university, via their action, has displayed a wanton disregard for the degree of Black educational opportunity that has been offered via its track and field program over the last decade," Dinkins told Campus Reform.
Dinkins also tweeted the full letter sent to the University from the Office of Civil Rights.
Here's the letter from the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights stating that @CMUniversity is under FEDERAL INVESTIGATION for racial discrimination for cutting its men's track program pic.twitter.com/L70bS5D1ze
— Russell Dinkins (@DancingDinks) April 27, 2022
In September, Campus Reform reported that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent the university a letter criticizing the institution for having a golf program but no track and field program. The ACLU warned that the decision had "far-reaching racial implications."
CMU President Bob Davies held a press conference on Apr. 28 to address the allegations. He also sent an email to students and faculty explaining the nature of this complaint and assuring everyone that the university "is complying with the investigation."
Campus Reform obtained a copy of the email, which revealed that the university's 2019-20 men's track and field team was approximately 73% White.
In the email, Davies also claimed that he firmly believes “the investigation will find no evidence to support claims of racial discrimination, which are inaccurate and misleading.”
CMU made the decision to cut the track team in 2020 due to a 4.5 million budget cut in reaction to the University’s significantly declining enrollment, according to the email. The plan included adding a men's golf team to replace the track team.
The track team costs the university roughly $1 million per year, whereas a men's golf team is projected to cost half as much, Davies explained. Furthermore, the decision was based on declining numbers of involvement in men's track and field.
Davies recounted the 2019-2020 men's track and field team only had around 30 members, which was half as many as the previous year. Of the team, three students were Black and 22 were White.
CMU has remained committed to diversity over the past several years by launching an ‘anti-racist’ campaign this year in order to give minority students more of a voice on campus.
Davies assured that the university is not discriminating against African American student-athletes and that the allegations are misleading and "contrary to CMU's core values.
Campus Reform reached out to CMU for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter @alyssanicolep7.