Group accuses UM medical school of showing favoritism toward blacks

April 04, 2001|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

A group headed by Linda Chavez is accusing the University of Maryland School of Medicine of favoring African-Americans in its admission process, a charge that school officials do not deny.

Chavez, who was President Bush's first choice for labor secretary, claimed that a black applicant in 1999 was 21 times more likely to be accepted than a white applicant with the same credentials.

"I believe strongly that race should not be a factor in admissions," Chavez said, speaking at a news conference at the Enoch Pratt Free Library yesterday. "That was the goal of the civil rights movement."

Her group, the Center for Equal Opportunity, has conducted several studies of the use of race in undergraduate admissions - including at the University of Maryland, College Park - but this is its first of a graduate institution.

The data in the CEO report about the medical school in Baltimore showed that the scores on the MCAT - the medical school equivalent of the SAT - of the 25th and 75th percentiles of black applicants were 36 and 44. Similar scores for white applicants were 45 and 52.

Francis Canavan, associate vice chancellor for the University System of Maryland, said he did not question the report's data.

"The university does take race into account in the admission process as one of many factors in meeting its responsibility to provide equal opportunities to historically underrepresented groups," he said.

The state medical school is being sued by a white applicant, Robert Farmer, who claims he was discriminated against when he was denied admission in 1996.

He is due in federal district court Monday to seek admission.

The state claims that he would not have been admitted under any circumstances.

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