State University has temporarily closed its admissions office at its campus in suburban Atlanta after a lawsuit filed by students alleges a pattern of discrimination.
The university has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The suit claims the school discriminates against black students in admissions and retention decisions.
It also claims the campus lacks adequate resources to handle the influx of new students and has failed to adequately provide support to students in the interim.
A statement from the university on Monday said the university is “disappointed in the lawsuit and will defend our admissions practices and the law.
The university’s efforts to improve diversity on campus and to hire and retain qualified candidates will continue.”
Georgia Southern University President Mark L. Smith, left, and Chancellor Thomas E. Woodruff, right, look on during a news conference on Sept. 18, 2020, at Georgia Southern University in Atlanta.
(AP Photo/Lori Van Buren)Georgia Southern announced the closure of the school’s admissions office in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur on Tuesday, two days after it received the lawsuit.
A university spokesperson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the decision was not related to the lawsuit, and that the office is open and staffed by current staff.
“We’ve done a great job in improving the process and we’re not going to change the process, but we’ve made it clear to students that it’s a part of our commitment to a more diverse campus,” the spokesperson said.
Georgia Southern students will be allowed to apply for admission to any of the four universities that employ them, but there are restrictions on who they can attend, according to the Georgia Southern website.
Students who want to transfer to another school must show they can support themselves financially and do not have family or friends who are from that school.
They can apply to transfer at any time, but if they are accepted into another school they must complete the process at least three months before their transfer deadline.
Georgia State University’s Chancellor Thomas Woodruff addresses the media during a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Oct. 20, 2021.
(Joe Burbank/AP)Georgia State’s enrollment dropped 9% in 2020 and the school is currently on pace to lose about 10,000 students, according the Georgia Board of Regents.
The board, which regulates the state’s higher education system, expects the school to lose 2,000 to 3,000 full-time students this year.
The school is expected to fall below full-year enrollment levels this year, which would leave it underfunded.
The lawsuits were filed against Georgia Southern and the University of Georgia in October by two students who said they were discriminated against in admissions.
The students also said they faced discrimination at a university that is not accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
A university spokesperson said Monday the lawsuit is “unfounded.”
“The allegations in the complaint are patently false, false and false,” the statement read.
“We will defend the University vigorously in our ongoing lawsuit and are confident we will prevail.”
Georgia State President Mark Smith and Georgia State Board of Trustees Chairwoman Terri O. Pappas address the media at the University Club of Atlanta in Atlanta, Ga., on June 21, 2022.
(John Bazemore/AP photo)The lawsuits also said the students did not have access to information that might help them get into Georgia Southern, and said the school failed to provide them with counseling and resources to assist them with applying for admission.
“I have heard that there were people at Georgia State who would do anything to get a student to apply,” one student, who asked to remain anonymous, told the AJC.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in that situation, so I’m hoping this lawsuit doesn’t put the student’s life in jeopardy.”