Central Michigan University denies discrimination allegations

Central Michigan University denies discrimination allegations
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 10:37 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2022 at 11:17 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WILX) - Central Michigan University is under investigation from the U.S. Office for Civil Rights due to a complaint claiming the school was racist for eliminating the men’s track and field team in 2020.

President Bob Davies defended the school Thursday and said it did nothing wrong when it eliminated its track and field program, but students are calling on CMU to do more.

“I think It should be a point of pride really more than anything that people care this much about diversity and inclusion,” said Owen Howard.

Howard, a cross country athlete at CMU, has been outspoken in his frustration about the track and field team being cut. He’s not the only one.

“They have no interest in figuring out a solution to ensure these opportunities that disproportionately benefit Black and brown students, as well as low income students that remain at the university,” said Russel Dinkins.

Dinkins is the executive director of the Tracksmith Foundation, a group whose goal is to increase participation in track and field.

At CMU, men’s track and field was replaced by men’s golf.

According to the latest NCAA data, in 2021, there were nearly 3,000 Black students competing in track, making up 26% of all participants. In comparison, there were 55 Black students in golf, making up 2%. Dinkins said that’s unacceptable.

“My fight has always been centered on that kid whose name I will never know who will be able to have this tremendous academic and educational opportunity via the sport of track and field,” Dinkins said. “They need to make sure that all these pathways no matter how they are constituted remain for populations that have historically been under-sourced.”

President Davies responded to the investigation Thursday morning.

“Our choice later, in adding men’s golf, was again motivated by financial, compliance and student-success reasons,” Davies said.

The U.S. Department of Education said they remain neutral and will look into the complaint, but added just because they’re opening an investigation, doesn’t mean they’ve made any decision about what to do.

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