Fight over Clark Atlanta engineering program heads to high court
The engineering faculty and students at Clark Atlanta University are headed to the Georgia Supreme Court to argue for saving the engineering program, which is slated to close next year.
Oral arguments in the case are set for March 13.
A group of engineering faculty and students sued the school in October 2005, alleging Clark Atlanta's president and board of trustees wrongly closed the department without first seeking wider input.
In January 2005, a Fulton County Superior Court judge threw out the case, saying that the historically black private institution acted within its rights when its board of directors chose to close the engineering program in 2003.
Judge Alice Bonner said in her order that the students "will not face irreparable harm" because Clark Atlanta has agreed to give those currently enrolled time to complete their studies before the department's scheduled May 2008 closing.
Clark Atlanta officials have argued that the financially troubled school needs to concentrate on other areas of study. The engineering program began in 1994 and offers students majors in mechanical, chemical, electrical and civil engineering.
It is the only such program at a historically black college in Georgia, and one of only 14 at black colleges nationwide.