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No affirmative action for Columbus State students

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

It's a term that has made waves across the country this week:  affirmative action.

The Supreme Court ruled this week to uphold a ban on preferred enrollment based on race at universities in the state of Michigan.

It's something that's been done in the state of Georgia for more than a decade, and News Leader 9's Tyrone McCoy explains how this could affect you.

The state of Georgia approved a similar affirmative action ruling in 2003, voting that schools in the University System of Georgia would admit students equally. Institutions like Columbus State University say the ban does not affect initiatives to diversify their campus.

Marga Velasquez, Columbus State University's Assistant Director of Undergraduate Recruitment explains "Columbus State actually does not have an affirmative action plan."

According to Marga Velasquez, Columbus State University does not admit students with regard to race, gender or ethnicity, saying all students are required to meet the same standards.

"Admission into the university is actually based on specific admission requirement that have been set by the University System of Georgia," Velasquez adds.

This is a result of an affirmative action case not similar to the one in Michigan. In 2000, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia ruled that the University of Georgia's admissions policy was unconstitutional after three white, female applicants filed and won a suit for being rejected from the university. Georgia was one of three states to ban Affirmative Action policies in 2003. But this decision did not affect diversity initiatives at state institutions.

"We do support specific recruitment initiatives, retention initiatives for underrepresented groups, minority groups," Velasquez says.

At CSU, these groups include black men and Hispanics. And the university has several initiatives to increase enrollment in those demographics that promote leadership opportunities and professional development for both groups, Velasquez says. Though there may be a fine line between affirmative action and diversity, she adds there is a difference.

"Affirmative action is where you do give a little more preference," she says. "Based on -- whether it's gender, race, ethnicity for admission policy. Diversity, of course, it would be totally different because you do accept the student, but they do need to meet that requirement."

Columbus State University does not use an affirmative action plan when it comes to student admissions; however they do support programs to increase enrollment numbers for under-represented groups of the student population.

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