By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has turned down Chestnut Hill College’s bid to be exempt from discrimination laws because of its Catholic affiliation. It’s a victory for students of color at every Catholic college in the state.

The high court denied the college’s appeal and let stand a Commonwealth Court decision that the college is subject to a decision by the state Human Relations Commission of probable cause for a discrimination complaint. The complaint came from former student Michael Meads, who was expelled weeks before graduation in a dispute over his student production of Raisin in the Sun.

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Chestnut Hill Asking For Exemption From State Discrimination Laws

“Knowing that justice is prevailing makes me really happy,” Meads said.

The college had claimed its Catholic affiliation exempted it from the Commission’s jurisdiction, an argument that could have eliminated discrimination protections at any Pennsylvania Catholic college. Shanay Garner of the Alumni of Color Collective says she hopes the college will change its stance.

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“Probable Cause” For A Discrimination Complaint Against Chestnut Hill College

“Asking for permission to be racist, I think, speaks for itself,” Garner said.

The college says its objective was only to seek clarification on important questions of law concerning Commission jurisdiction, that it’s disappointed but accepts the court’s ruling.

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