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STEWART v. NEW YORK UNIV.

March 16, 1976.

Doris Guerriero STEWART, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BONSAL

BONSAL, District Judge.

Defendant, New York University, moves to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) and 56(b) on the ground that (a) the Court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action, (b) the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted, and (c) defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

 Plaintiff, Doris Guerriero Stewart, is white. She seeks injunctive relief and damages for herself and "others similarly situated" to remedy alleged race, sex, and other discrimination she suffered when she was denied admission to the class entering defendant's School of Law (the "Law School") in September, 1974.

 Plaintiff was an honors student at college, has a masters degree, has attended various graduate schools, and has taught at Indiana University and several private schools. She applied to the Law School for admission to the class entering in September, 1974 and was rejected by letter dated April 4, 1974.

 Defendant New York University (the "University") is an institution of higher education primarily located in New York City and comprises fifteen colleges and schools, including the Law School.

 The Law School Minority Admissions Policy

 It appears that in 1965 the Faculty of the Law School adopted the present "minority admissions policy" pursuant to a recommendation of a specially-appointed Faculty Committee that:

 "It will be necessary, we believe, to authorize the Admissions Committee to admit approximately 10-15 students who predictably will succeed in law school, even though their tests scores and college grades place some below our predetermined cut-off line for admissions. In order to prevent the displacement of students who might otherwise have been admitted, we suggest that the first-year class be enlarged by the appropriate number."

 The Admissions Committee implemented the recommendation beginning with the 1966 entering class. In the 1974 entering class (to which plaintiff was denied admission), it appears that 35 minority students of the total 362 entering students were "separately considered and admitted" after the Admissions Committee concluded that each had a "good chance for academic success."

 For the purposes of this motion to dismiss, the Court accepts the allegations of the complaint as true.

 The Complaint

 Plaintiff alleges claims under various civil rights statutes (42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 et seq. and 2000d et seq., and 20 U.S.C. § 1681), and the Fourteenth Amendment, and bases jurisdiction upon 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1331.

 Plaintiff asserts three "causes of action" and seeks to represent three different classes of persons. In the first "cause of action", she sues on behalf of "all white women similarly situated who applied for... and... were denied admission" to the Law School for the academic year beginning September, 1974. Plaintiff challenges the Law School's minority admissions policy, contending that it is unlawfully discriminatory since some of the applicants who were admitted to the September, 1974 entering class were less qualified than she. Plaintiff, who apparently is enrolled in another law school, alleges she suffered damages in that the graduates from defendant's Law School find employment more easily and earn higher salaries than "non-graduates" or graduates of "a local law school."

 In her second "cause of action" plaintiff sues on behalf of herself and "all women similarly situated" who applied for and were denied admission to the class entering the Law School in September, 1974, and claims that if the minority admissions policy is lawful, then all women, who allegedly have suffered " cultural, educational and social deprivation", should be accorded treatment as minority applicants.

 In her third "cause of action", plaintiff sues on behalf of "all persons similarly situated, both women and men, who come from economically, culturally and socially deprived backgrounds", who applied for but were denied admission to the Law School class entering in September, 1974, and alleges that the benefits of any preferential admissions policy should be extended to her and this class of persons.

 Defendant's Contentions

 The University contends, in support of its motion to dismiss, that it is strictly a private educational institution chartered in 1831 and is governed by an independent Board of Trustees. Neither the University nor any constituent college or school is part of any state or city university or of any public educational system. The University asserts that the record submitted *fn1" establishes:

 1. The Law School revenues received from any governmental sources are an insignificant portion of the Law School's total budget.

 2. The admissions policies of the Law School, including the minority admissions policy, were adopted solely by the Law School Faculty and are implemented by the Law School Admissions Committee and the Dean of Admissions, without any participation by the University officers or governing bodies. *fn2"

 3. The minority admissions policy was originally adopted by the Law School in October, 1965 as part of a Law School faculty-initiated program designed to remedy "serious underrepresentation of minority groups in the student body... and in the legal profession." *fn3"

 Plaintiff's Contentions

 Plaintiff contends, in opposition to defendant's motion, that the issue of jurisdiction should be determined with reference to the University as a whole since the Law School administration and finances are intertwined with those of the University; the Faculty and students of the Law School have access to University facilities; and the Law School Faculty members serve on University committees and teach in other schools within the University.

 Plaintiff asserts that the federal, state and city governments have connections with the University and the Law School, including:

 1. Tax exemptions and deductions: The Law Center Foundation, which is tax exempt, receives contributions for the benefit of the Law School, and has expended sums ranging between $436,370 and $1,307,087 annually for the Law School's activities during the academic years 1970/71 through 1973/74.

 In addition, the Law School receives tax exempt non-governmental endowment income and gifts or grants for "restricted [purposes]" which ranged between $1,366,801 and $1,022,779 during the academic years from 1970/71 to 1973/74, and constituted between 18.2% and 12.2% of the Law School's total revenues per academic year.

 The University and the Law School benefit from tax abatements and exemptions from New York City Real Estate Taxes and Water Charges.

 2. Government financing of University buildings: The New York State Dormitory Authority and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") have provided financing for (non-Law School) University buildings. Also, the Law Center Foundation, which owns Hayden Hall, the Law School's dormitory facility, is indebted to HUD for $625,000 for the construction of that building.

 3. Student loans and awards from government sources: In 1974/75 about 350 law students were eligible for New York State Tuition Assistance Plan Awards. It is estimated that the recipients were awarded an average of $300 per year, for a total grant to the Law School of approximately $105,000. The Federal government also provided $441,610 in loans and ...


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