University Faces Civil Rights Complaint For Race-Based Scholarship Programs

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University Faces Civil Rights Complaint For Race-Based Scholarship Programs


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A nonprofit filed a civil rights complaint over the weekend against Western Kentucky University (WKU) for two race-based scholarship programs.

The Legal Insurrection Foundation’s Equal Protection Project filed the complaint with the U. S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, alleging that WKU’s Athletics Minority Fellowship (AMF) and Distinguished Minority Fellowship (DMF) programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both programs are designed for minority students and have eligibility criteria that excludes white applicants, according to their descriptions.

The university’s website specifies that the AMF program is “dedicated to enhancing the success of students of color” within administrative areas of the athletics department, and it awards $2,000 annual scholarships to recipients who “identify as an underrepresented ethnic minority.” The DMF program, which covers nine hours of tuition costs for a graduate degree and makes students eligible for a minimum $15,000 graduate assistantship stipend, requires students to be part of a minority group, according to the flyer.

Minority groups eligible for the DMF program include “African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, two or more races, or Hispanic/Latino,” the flyer reads.

“The harm from racial educational barriers is that it racializes not just the specific program, but the entire campus,” William A. Jacobson, Cornell Law School professor and founder of EqualProtect.org, said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Sending a message to students that access to opportunities is dependent on race is damaging to the fabric of campus. Universities need to adopt the approach of EqualProtect.org, which is that there is no ‘good’ form of racism, and the remedy for racism is not more racism.”

The Equal Protection Project has also filed complaints over allegedly discriminatory programs at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, SUNY Buffalo’s School of Law, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Kansas State University.

“WKU should know better than to run educational and career programs that exclude students based on race,” Jacobson said. “Such blatant discrimination always has been unlawful, but any doubt was resolved by the Supreme Court recently in its affirmative action ruling. A goal of ‘diversity’ no longer can be used as an excuse to discriminate.”

Conservative groups are increasingly bringing legal action against programs offered by both higher education institutions and companies that give preferences to certain races. In June, the Supreme Court ruled against racial preferences in college admissions, finding admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina violated the Equal Protection Clause.

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Western Kentucky University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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