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Two white students who challenged law school admissions policies at the University of Georgia have settled their case in return for admission to UGA’s law school and tuition money. Robert T. Homlar, now at the University of South Carolina Law School, and Virginia Noble, now at Mercer Law School, on Monday settled the case, Noble v. Georgia Board of Regents, says their attorney A. Lee Parks. But Parks, with Atlanta’s Parks, Chesin, Walbert & Miller, says the law school has not changed its policy of using race as a criterion for admissions. “I think what they think they bought here was a continuing right to discriminate,” Parks says. It’s a “short-term fix” that permits the law school to perpetuate its current admissions policies even if it costs the university a certain amount in damages every year, he says, “because most people don’t sue.” UGA officials confirm there will be no change in the law school’s admissions process as a result of the settlement. The settlement awards Homlar $15,000 and Noble $20,000 to compensate them for the higher tuition they paid at their current law schools, as well as a total of $25,000 in legal fees. Homlar intends to complete his third year of law school at UGA, Parks says. Noble has decided to finish her law degree at Mercer. The two law students last year challenged UGA’s use of race as a factor in admission, a litmus test they claimed led the law school to reject their applications in spite of test scores and grades that should have qualified them for acceptance. “Both Homlar and Noble had higher academic scores … than minorities who were offered admission,” Parks says. But the UGA law school’s current admissions policy seeks 10 percent minority admissions in each class. “To achieve that goal, at some level academics were subordinated to race,” Parks says. The suit is similar to three other suits that so far successfully have challenged UGA’s use of race as an admissions criterion for undergraduates. Those student plaintiffs have been admitted to UGA and awarded damages, Parks says. Nonetheless, the Georgia Board of Regents is asking the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals if race can be considered during the college admissions process. “I think you will continue to see the lawsuits as long as the university pursues the policy of settling rather than correcting the underlying cause of the liability,” Parks says. “People aren’t just going to take rejection … without a fight.”

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