Friday, February 24, 2006

Must A Private School Accept Students It Doesn't Want?


HONOLULU, Hawaii (AP) -- A federal appeals court said Wednesday that it would reconsider a decision to strike down the Hawaiians-only admissions policy of a prestigious private school...

Kamehameha Schools was established under the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, and its three campuses are partly funded by a trust now worth $6.2 billion. More than 5,000 students are enrolled in elementary to high school classes on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.

If the school receives state money, I can see the legitimacy of this lawsuit. You can't use state money to discriminate against people on the basis of race--unless you're implementing so-called affirmative action, in which you can discriminate on the basis of race if in doing so you benefit people whose skin color is the same as that of people who used to be discriminated against on the basis of race. That's a topic for a different post.

But these schools seem to have more money available to them than most small countries. The individualist Republican (as opposed to the religious Republican) in me asks: why shouldn't these schools be allowed to discriminate against anyone they want? Is this a free association issue? Or is there more at stake?

I invite readers to comment on why the schools should be required to accept non-Hawaiians if they don't want to.


Superdestroyer said...

The free association argument is answered with the "public accommodation” argument that has been around since the 1960’s. Why should a private school be allowed to put up a “No Whites Allowed” sign when a restaurant, a hotel, or a bus company is not allowed to post such a sign.

In addition, the Bishop Estate is “incorporated” by the state and the organization operates as a private non-profit corporation. Thus, the KSBE “corporation” can no more legally discriminate than General Motors can discriminate or you can discriminate in renting out a house.

Darren said...

Thank you for the additional facts, Superdestroyer.

Let's now leave this specific case and go to a more general case. She private organizations be allowed to discriminate?

Wulf said...

You are right, Darren. This is a free association issue, but we don't allow free disassociation in this country.

So yes, there is more at stake here. Social engineering is at stake, because we fear as a society that if an individual or group of individuals could make their own decisions about association, all hell would break loose. We believe that Jim Crow would return if it weren't for the Government.

As to whether private individuals or organizations should be allowed to discriminate, the answer is yes - government should not, but anyone else should be allowed to. That is freedom at its essence, and the
Civil Rights Cases
of 1883 should have been the final say on the matter. But because of Jim Crow, it wasn't... and I don't see any going back, even if you believe Jim Crow wouldn't return.

Kalroy said...

As I recall, KSBE's non-tax status is due to the school being a religous institution in the same way Catholic schools are, a "Protestant Institution" is the way the school describes itself. All the teachers are required to be of a Protestant denomination, though the students are not required to be Protestant, they are required to take religious education classes every year they attend the school.

The school does recieve state money, but it is solely for state school programs being run in public schools for all the states children. I believe that even these "state-funded" non-Hawaiian-only programs are also partially subsidized by the school itself. This makes sense, considering the century plus of success the school has had in education compared to the state (which was so bad in the eighties that students would have to drop grades when moving to the mainland).

JROTC was once mandatory for all male students. This program recieved federal money. Several years back, because of the receipt of federal money, this program was eliminated. Like the programs run for state benefit, JROTC was heavily subsidized by the school.

As an aside, it should be noted that KSBE has been incredibly successful as a type of private "affirmative action" in that it was established with the actual goal of helping Hawaiian aborigines and their descendants learn to survive and thrive in the western world.


Kamehameha Student said...

Kamehameha Schools' Teachers are not required to be of protestant religion.