Marshall University Drops “Black Only” Restriction in Freshman Seminar

All students entering Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, this fall will be required to take the course UNI 101. The course is a freshman seminar designed to ease a student’s transition to college life. Some sections of the course have a special focus such as on adult education or students with disabilities. Another section is geared to the problems of African-American students on a predominantly white campus.

In the past, this special section of UNI 101 was restricted to African-American students. But the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in Philadelphia sent a letter to Marshall University saying that the university was in violation of state and federal law by offering a course that was restricted to a particular racial group. Marshall decided to keep the special course on the transition to college life for African Americans but it opened up the course to students of all races who wanted to take it.

About 5 percent of the nearly 10,000 undergraduate students at Marshall University are black.