But before the faculty committee's report was even released, a number of Student Government Association members (including those who filed the original petition against the NBS) hired attorney Michael K. Curtis to represent them. In a March 30, 1973, letter to Chancellor Ferguson and Dr. Kendon Smith, chair of the faculty committee investigating the ruling, Curtis wrote that his "clients are seriously disturbed by the recent action of the University establishing a faculty advisory committee to consider and possibly recommend reversal of the Student Senate's decision to terminate the funding of the Neo-Black Society."
|Leon Chestnut, NBS coordinator|
Before the next Board of Trustees meeting, however, five individual students who had hired Curtis as their attorney filed suit in U.S. District Court in April. Many other UNCG students signed petitions making it clear that these individual students did not represent the opinion of the student body at large. The suit specifically named Chancellor Ferguson, members of the Board of Trustees, and two officers of the Neo-Black Society as defendants. One of the two was NBS coordinator Leon Chestnut.
At their June 4, 1973 meeting, the Board of Trustees found "that the action of the Chancellor in invalidating the action of the Student Senate of March 26-27, 1973 in reclassifying the Neo-Black Society was appropriate and correct, based upon the evidence presented to him." But the Board also concluded "in view of the contradictory nature of the evidence presented at the hearing on the appeal before the board on June 4, 1973, that the matter be remanded to the Student Senate for a hearing de novo on the classification of the Neo-Black Society, such hearing to be held within thirty days after the beginning of the Fall Semester, 1973."
|Text of the Board of Trustees' June 4, 1973 decision|
The following Fall, on September 19, 1974, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs James H. Allen, who had worked with NBS leadership throughout the funding challenge, wrote a memo to the NBS membership as they planned their annual banquet. He wrote "the contributions of the Neo-Black Society to racial understanding and an appreciation of the contribution of the Black culture and heritage are important to the educational mission of the University. I look forward with you to a significant year of achievement for the Society and offer my support to you in whatever ways necessary in accomplishing your goals for the year."