Last week, a civil rights lawsuit was filed against the University of Minnesota for implementing a research program that only accepts students of color and provides them a $6,000 stipend.
The school expressly limits participation in the Multicultural Summertime Research Opportunities Program to people who “identify as a pupil of color or a Native American.” The program, which is described as an “intensive 10-week summertime program during which undergraduates of color work full-time in school with a mentor from the faculty on a research project,” is only open to individuals who “hold a degree from an institution of higher learning.” Participants get a $6,000 stipend to use for research and personal expenditures as well as another stipend that goes to the academic advisor for the project. Participants were required to disclose their demographic details as part of the application.
The Equal Protection Project, a program run by the Legal Insurrection Foundation, filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education, alleging that its research program infringes both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment along with the terms of Title VI in the Civil Rights Act, that forbids any organization from obtaining government funding while discriminating on the basis of color, race, or national origin. According to the complaint, the Department of Education needs to take into account “enforcing fines, beginning administrative actions to suspend, dismiss or decline to provide or continue government funding, and submitting the case to the the Dept. of Justice for judicial procedures.”
“No matter whatever race is harmed, racial discrimination by a public institution is prohibited,” the letter added. “It is illegal to discriminate against white candidates in the same way as it is against black or any other non-white applicants.”
Similar human rights complaints about programs that discriminate on the basis of race and sex have been made against institutions recently. In reaction to the academic programs, Mark Perry, an emeritus professor of economics from the University of Michigan-Flint, has submitted hundreds of Title IX plus Title VI complaints with the federal government, many of which have proven successful.
Other universities have, in the meantime, established segregated areas on campus. For example, New York University created “themed involvement communities” that provided accommodation for students identifying with particular minority groups, the University of Pennsylvania established an independent “permanent shared area” for black athletes in college, and Stanford University started a physics course specifically for minority students that “don’t have an equal level of preparation coming from high school.”
There is evidence that top institutions discriminate against white and Asian applicants in order to achieve greater levels of cultural and racial diversity. According to a survey from 2009, Asian candidates needed SAT scores that were around 140 points higher than those who were white, 270 points higher than those who were Hispanic, and 450 points higher than those who were black, based on a report by the Asian American Coalition for Education.