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Board OKs changing hiring quotas for colleges

By M.J. Ellington (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — The state school board approved personnel policy changes for the two-year college system Thursday, removing obsolete hiring quotas for women and minorities.

Chancellor Bradley Byrne said the language establishing the quotas came about as part of a 1996 consent decree that ended a federal hiring discrimination lawsuit, Shuford v. Alabama State Board of Education.

System attorney Joan Davis said the consent decree expired in 2005 and keeping the quotas as part of the system policy could lead to reverse discrimination lawsuits. "The language was obsolete and needed to come out," Davis said after the board's meeting.

There were objections to making the change. Mary Bruce Ogles of the Alabama Education Association said AEA objected to deleting the quota language because doing so removed protections in hiring and promotion for women and minorities.

Board of Education member Ella Bell, D-Montgomery, expressed similar concerns.

Byrne and Davis said other language in the revised policy prohibits discrimination against anyone based on "race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability or any other protected class."

"I am extremely proud of the diversity we have in the system," Byrne said. He said that if the system follows federal law, then the people hired will reflect the racial makeup of the state.

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