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March 14, 2006

Under Threat of Lawsuits, Minority Scholarships Open Up Applications To Whites

But just because you aren't automatically disqualified doesn't mean you're actually going to be given any money.

Facing threats of litigation and pressure from Washington, colleges and universities nationwide are opening to white students hundreds of thousands of dollars in fellowships, scholarships and other programs previously created for minorities.

Southern Illinois University reached a consent decree last month with the Justice Department to allow nonminorities and men access to graduate fellowships originally created for minorities and women.

In January, the State University of New York made white students eligible for $6.8 million of aid in two scholarship programs also previously available just for minorities. Pepperdine University is negotiating with the Education Department over its use of race as a criterion in its programs.

"They're all trying to minimize their legal exposure," Susan Sturm, a law professor at Columbia University, said about colleges and universities. "The question is how are they doing that, and are they doing that in a way that's going to shut down any effort or any successful effort to diversify the student body?"

The institutions are reacting to two 2003 Supreme Court cases on using race in admissions at the University of Michigan. Although the cases did not ban using race in admissions to higher education, they did leave the state of the law unclear, and with the changing composition of the court, some university and college officials fear legal challenges.

I think they're moving from overt racial preferences to hidden ones. Like when whites, in the beginning of the civil rights age, pretended to be open to hiring blacks (or letting them rent a home), but really had no intention of doing so.

Still, I guess it's progress of sorts. Covert racism is somewhat better than the overt kind.


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posted by Ace at 04:47 PM

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