credit scoring to set insurance prices could be outlawed by Supreme Court
Allstate Insurance Co. has
lost its bid to squash a class action discrimination suit against it for its
use of credit scoring in setting insurance prices, reported the Insurance
The U.S. Supreme Court this
week denied the
In November, 2001, a class
action was filed against Allstate in the U.S. District Court of the Western
District of Texas. The suit, Jose C. DeHoyos, et al. v. Allstate Corporation,
et al. alleged that Allstate raised plaintiffs' auto insurance premiums or
assigned them to a higher-cost subsidiary based on race, due to Allstate's use
of geographical redlining. The case alleges racial discrimination in violation
of the U.S. Fair Housing Act.
Michael Trevino, an Allstate
spokesman, denied any racial discrimination by the company and defended the
company's use of credit scoring as a benefit to "minority and
non-minority" consumers alike. He said Allstate's credit scoring tool
does not know the customer's income or race. He also said credit scoring has
allowed Allstate to not only write more auto and homeowners business than it
might otherwise write but also has allowed it to more accurately price its
But the plaintiffs' suit
argued that the use of credit scoring is intentional discrimination that
results in a "disparate impact" against minority policyholders.
Allstate challenged the
disparate impact claims in court, arguing that the federal housing act has
limited effect because insurance is regulated by the states.
"We feel it is an issue
more appropriately dealt with by the states," added Trevino.
Even though this may be an
issue dealt with by the states, it must be remembered that the Fair Lending
Acts were dealt with by both the state and the Federal Government. For
example, the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1977; however, the State of
It was in 2002 when a federal
trial judge allowed the credit scoring suit to proceed. The court rejected
Allstate's argument and determined that the states at issue (
In September, 2003, the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in
With this latest Supreme
Court affirmation, the case now proceeds to trial on its merits.
Outlawing credit scoring
could be apparent by the Supreme Court. However,
regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, it is quite obvious that the credit
scoring is aimed primarily at minorities, specifically African Americans,
since they are the poorest.
Title VI of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 prohibits the use of federal funds to promote discrimination.
Obviously, Federal funds have been and still are being used to promote
discrimination. The fact that (1)
credit scoring is being litigated and (2) the US Fair Housing Act was passed
and (3) State and Federal Fair Lending Acts were passed, are just 3-prime
examples of racial discrimination.
Americans have been denied equal use of Federal funds.
Federal funds are used for just about everything; purchasing homes,
education, banking (savings and loans companies), transportation, businesses,
economic development, etc.
By Bobby L. Lovett
Since the institution opened its doors in June 1912;
Historically, the culprit of the whole mess was state-sanctioned Jim Crow practices designed to protect an exclusive “white” society and negate the “separate but equal” principle of Plessy v.
These racial practices no governor dared risk his career to stop.
The Negro’s third Civil Rights Movement since 1864 began in the 1930s during the New Deal.
State courts denied the
However, the NAACP won Clarence B. Robinson [an A. & I. graduate] v.
The NAACP campaign frightened State Board of Education (SBOE) officials and legislators enough to cause them to issue out-of-state fellowships for Negro graduate students (1937-1962), implement a Negro graduate school (1942), and forge ahead with SACS approval of
When President William J. Hale failed to reveal a $337,000 reserve fund and finance the Jim Crow graduate school from institutional funds, state officials launched an audit.
The results were so petty that even the Tennessee Attorney General warned that it was best not to pursue them. The problem really was that Hale had refused to agree to save
A set of state officials, therefore, became determined that “Hale must go.” They fired the bursar (finance head) at A. & I.
They placed a state official in an office on the campus to speed up implementation of the graduate school before the NAACP could afford to petition the federal court. In 1942, this man, along with two “friendly Negroes,” and the Commissioner of Education met (without President Hale), and decided that A. & I. would not get a law school; instead, they would oppose the NAACP’s meddling in southern affairs, and they would increase the $200 out-of-state fellowships by taking the money from A. & I. funds.
When Hale attended the next meeting and suggested that UT and A. & I. should agree to offer certain non-duplicative programs, the Commissioner exploded and told Hale he would not present anything to the board without permission.
In August 1943, with the governor’s approval, they released W.J. Hale after 32 years of devoted service.
Walter S. Davis, who succeeded Hale on
State officials allowed
But state officials soon had no reason to hurry up and honor Plessy v.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954) nullified Plessy and indicated that Jim Crow education should soon end. Students from
The new governor allowed SBOE officials to pressure
The results again were petty findings, but state officials again fired the finance head, secretly recruited a head from
Andrew P. Torrence assumed office in November 1968, but found himself under attack because of the recently filed Geier v. Ellington (May 1968) case to desegregate higher education.
Torrence dared complain that
State officials had no intention of allowing Torrence to move ahead in expanding the institution; but Torrence was defiant.
As part of his agreement to take the job, he regained direct control of the institution’s finances [he had to keep the director of finance].
The NAACP sued the federal government in
This action speeded up desegregation in higher education by 1977, and persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to issue more definitive standards in
Meanwhile, Torrence flat out refused to go along with
Torrence rejected these racial remarks, ignored UT’s suggestions to curtail TSU’s engineering programs, and instituted recruitment of more whites.
Torrence wrote a memo to the faculty, saying “We have to do something [more].” The TSU senate passed resolution (1972), calling for a plan to merge UT-Nashville into TSU.
Although the Geier case had been filed by TSU history instructor Rita Sanders (Geier) and others, with assistance from attorney George Barrett, young blacks did not trust him.
After Sanders and original plaintiffs left
This racial distrust grew out of the SNCC movement; infiltrators and saboteurs within the civil rights organizations were working for intelligence agencies and anti-civil rights groups, like the racist Mississippi Sovereignty Commission.—see release of FBI files.
In 1972, the federal judge, Frank T. Gray Jr., allowed Sterlin N. Adams, Raymond Richardson (two black TSU professors of mathematics) and nearly 100 other black citizens from across
They formed Tennesseans for Justice in Higher Education, hired the best civil rights attorney in the state, Avon N. Williams, Jr., and developed a plan for merger of UT-Nashville into
The UT side blamed Torrence for the faculty’s militancy. Torrence was further discouraged when he came under public attack by a black state legislator.
In April 1974, Torrence called a faculty meeting, explained his position, and resigned, effective September.
President Frederick S. Humphries arrived January 1975. Four of eleven Regents had voted against his selection, and the new head of the Regents seemed to devote his daylight hours to writing Humphries one worrisome memo after another.
Humphries courageously testified in federal court how TSU was deprived of state resources and kept inferior while UTN, MTSU, and other public universities were allowed to thrive while including as few black students and faculty as possible.
Judge Gray ordered a merger in January 1977, to take place by
It was rumored that Gov. Ray Blanton and the Board of Regents intended to fire Humphries.
The Meter, the student newspaper at TSU, called it “an assassination.” Black community forces formed a motor caravan to the Regents meeting.
At the meeting, Avon Williams recalled “they took [Humphries] into a bathroom and tongue-lashed him like a slave.”
Supporters instituted a letter-writing campaign in Humphries’ behalf. Blanton even was forced to write a series of hurried letters in response to the SACS director’s inquiry about these bizarre educational politics in Tennessee—several times since 1923, northern philanthropic agencies and outside educational reform groups had come to the Negro’s aid in Jim Crow Tennessee.
Gov. Blanton was thrown out of office in January 1979, and later sent to federal prison for corruption.
Another audit-like weapon was used to impound $475,000 from the TSU budget, claiming the institution had padded enrollment by admitting 912 students that should have been on academic suspension.
TSU was forced to suffer budget deficits and cut 20 percent of the staff. Humphries recalled he welcomed the opportunity to build an outstanding institution when going to
“We never got judged on what we did; we got judged by what [students] we took in.” Humphries served until
The governor and state education officials borrowed a black educator from
Peterson sided with the recent Geier Settlement (1985) which to blacks seemed no more than a vindictive racial edict: a 50 percent white ratio for TSU; no serious ratio for UT; a white majority even for
The U.S. Attorney General’s office filed objections. Avon Williams and staff met with NAACP lawyers in
State officials sent the controversial Peterson back to
Some believed the funds were stolen through bogus work on dormitories in collusion with officials; at a black community meeting an official almost admitted as much.
They rushed to find another interim president, bringing a man in from MTSU, who could be trusted. But student leaders met Interim President Otis L. Floyd at the door, complaining about physical conditions on the campus.
Students had a sit-in at the governor’s offices, and evidently brought him to the campus to see the miserable campus conditions.
The state developed a Master Plan to renovate and build new facilities. Floyd, too, suffered several student sit-ins. He served from fall 1986 until June 1990, when the governor appointed him to head the Regents office.
James A. Hefner was appointed sixth president of
By 2003, some leaders, with support from some friendly black and Hispanic officials, ignored the re-segregation of higher education in
Some 62 percent of African American students in
UT, since the 1937 and 1951 cases, enrolled less than 6 percent black students, employed less than 4 percent black faculty members, and had hardly any black department heads, deans, and vice presidents compared to other flagship universities in the 19 former Jim Crow states.
Barely 4 percent of the doctorates awarded in
See SEF, Redeeming the American Promise (1995).
Conversely, some 80 percent of European American secondary and college students attended heavily- or all-white institutions. And some 50 years since Brown v. Board of Education, European Americans continued to designate themselves as “whites,” and increasingly re-segregated American society into preferred institutions with few if any Hispanics or African Americans.
In Miles to Go (1998), the Southern Education Foundation said this phenomenon of re-segregation was a general trend in 19 states that previously had segregated institutions.
It seemed, therefore, that until TSU had a black student minority, whites simply would not attend the institution in greater numbers, and local white leaders would not proclaim
TSU still was not “white” enough according to white ethnic supremacy standards. Thus the black majority must be diminished in order to make highly race conscious whites feel comfortable that TSU was a quality institution worthy to represent
In his “Reflections” in Leadership and Learning (1990): 115-120, former Tennessee State University President Frederick S. Humphries recognized the persistence of American racial preferences; he said, “Racial tensions in America will not abate until African American institutions and culture are respected and viewed as valuable by the general society.”
Nevertheless, TSU did not remain in that past, but forged ahead to become a merged, racially diversified, comprehensive, urban, land-grant institution that met the challenges of an “America Becoming.”
Indeed, as a reflection of “America Becoming,” the new
In 2000-2002, among all of the nation’s colleges/universities, in the granting of bachelor’s degrees,
Specifically in the State of
TSU’s student enrollment included 9,024, including 22 percent non-black students. The student body originated from more than 80 of
The faculty was 47 percent African American, 47 percent European American (white), and six percent other ethnic and national cultures.
Only one white university (public or private) in
*Bobby L. Lovett, Ph.D., is professor of history at TSU and author of The African American History of Nashville, Tennessee, 1780-1930 (University of Arkansas Press, 1999).
Dr. Lovett in cooperation with two colleagues at other universities in the country is engaged in a research and grant project for a study to be published about the 103 HBCUs and their roles in the 21st century.
Voting Machine Inventor Dies
Athan Gibbs Sr. of
Determined to win full federal certification for the TruVote System, Gibbs, an accountant, never saw his dream come true. However, his family and associates say they will pick up where he left off.
“It’s going to go into full throttle,” says his son, Jonathan Gibbs, executive director of a marketing firm and graduate of the
Jonathan, 25, recalls his father being so disheartened by the developments during the loss of more than 200,000 votes in
Ultimately, Jonathan recalls, “’He just figured out the way to fix this thing is to have an audit system.’ ‘ Whenever there’s a problem with finance or numbers, you need some kind of accounting system.’”
In short, TruVote allows voters to touch the names of their candidates on a computer screen and receive paper receipts with an exclusive validation number. Then, as a backup, they could go to a Web site, punch in the validation number, and receive confirmation that their vote was recorded.
Over three years, Gibbs established the company, TruVote International, and spent about $2 million, including thousands of his own dollars, to develop and market the TruVote system. Over the past year, Microsoft had become a marketing partner when TruVote began utilizing its software.
“My father worked so extremely hard with this project,” Jonathan says. “’My brother, my family and I have always been alongside him.’ ‘It’s like the construction worker, somebody’s handing him the hammer, somebody’s handing him the nail, you know, while he worked on it.’”
An Entrepreneur with 29 years of accounting and audit experience, including positions with the State of
“This paper audit trail that we pioneered almost two-and-a-half or three years ago, it is really in the forefront of the news right now,” he said in the tape-recorded message. “Many states are looking at requiring a paper audit trail. When you get this message, please give me a call so that I can follow up with you and possibly get you to do a story on the need for the paper audit trail. The voter verifiable paper audit trail is the only system that can be used that will assure that all votes have been received, recorded and counted in the manner intended.”
Within 10 minutes, he’d called back, this time speaking directly with this reporter, excited that his idea was increasingly catching on, promising to send the latest package on TruVote for a follow-up story. He was also making plans for a conference call with NNPA News Service Editor-in-Chief George E. Curry and NNPA columnist Jim Clingman to discuss further coverage.
“Jim, this thing is about to break,” Clingman recalls Gibbs saying on the eve of his death. “We’re right at a breakthrough now, but we need some national publicity on this system,” said Gibbs.
Gibbs’ daughter, Angela,
21, says her father’s consciousness about voting went back much further than
the 2000 election.
“One evening last summer when I came home from work, he showed me this book and there was a picture of African-Americans and they were being beaten and he was just telling me the story of the Civil Rights Movement and how they were trying to get the right to vote and trying to get different rights and he says that’s what inspired him,” said Angela, a marketing major at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “’And that’s why he did what he did, because a lot of people fought to get the right to vote.’ ‘And then it really upset him that even though they did get the right to vote, that their votes were more likely not to count,’” said Angela.
Dorothy Gibbs, widowed elementary school teacher, was not yet ready to discuss her husband’s death. His daughter, Angela, says, “He had a never-give-up attitude. He was really persistent. He never believed in giving up. He wouldn’t let us quit anything.” Gibbs’ business associates remember him in the same way.
A. Grant, Gibbs’ vice president for marketing, says he has never in his life
worked with a person on a project who was more dedicated.
Obviously Gibbs invention was a visionary.
He had a fantastic idea. It
was right the right idea for the right time.
“’It was a genuine concern for fixing what was broken with our
democracy.’ ‘And I give him
credit because the whole country is now talking about an audit trail,’”
Adrienne Brandon, chief financial officer for TruVote, says only weeks ago Gibbs asked her: “if something happened to me, would you carry this on?” She says, “Even with him gone, we will.”
TruVote International, Inc. (the Company) is a start-up company that will supply Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) election hardware, software and other services for federal, state and local elections.
The Company has developed
election software (TruVote) that effectively addresses the voting
irregularities experienced in the 2000 Presidential Election. State and local
election authorities across the nation are currently exploring election
technology to minimize or eliminate the key problems encountered during the
2000 Presidential Election.
Last Updated: April 28, 2004
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