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Federal Complaint Alleges George Floyd Scholarships Exclusively Available to Black Students Are Illegal

Federal Complaint Alleges George Floyd

Federal Complaint Alleges George Floyd Scholarships Exclusively Available to Black Students Are Illegal. The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship, established by North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has sparked a contentious legal debate centered around issues of racial discrimination and equal protection under the law.

William Jacobson, a Cornell Law professor and founder of the Equal Protection Project, has filed a federal complaint challenging the scholarship’s eligibility criteria, which restricts applications to “Black or African American” students. This controversy raises complex questions about the intersection of race, education, and justice within the framework of civil rights legislation.

At the heart of the dispute is whether the scholarship’s race-based eligibility criteria violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in programs receiving federal financial assistance. Jacobson argues that by exclusively targeting individuals of a particular racial group, the scholarship discriminates against others solely based on their race, thereby running afoul of federal law.

“The George Floyd Scholarship eligibility requirements are openly racially discriminatory,” Jacobson told The College Fix.

Furthermore, Jacobson’s complaint asserts that the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship also violates Minnesota’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits educational institutions from limiting access to educational programs based on race. By explicitly excluding individuals who do not identify as “Black or African American” from eligibility, the scholarship may be seen as perpetuating systemic inequalities and denying equal opportunities to students of other racial backgrounds.

This raises fundamental questions about the ethical implications of using race as a determining factor in awarding scholarships and whether such practices contribute to or combat racial injustice in society.

Jacobson draws parallels between the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship controversy and recent Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action, particularly the case of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. In this landmark decision, the Court addressed allegations of racial discrimination in college admissions, emphasizing the principle of equal treatment and the prohibition of racial preferences.

Justice Neil Gorsuch’s concurring opinion underscored the importance of eliminating all forms of racial discrimination, regardless of the purported goal of promoting diversity or redressing historical injustices. This legal precedent serves as a basis for Jacobson’s argument that race-based considerations in scholarship awards are incompatible with the principles of equal protection and non-discrimination.

Critics of Jacobson’s complaint may argue that the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship serves a legitimate purpose in addressing systemic disparities and promoting educational opportunities for underrepresented minority groups.

They may contend that initiatives like this scholarship are essential for fostering diversity and inclusion in academic settings, particularly in the aftermath of high-profile incidents of racial injustice like the murder of George Floyd. Advocates may also point to the historical context of racial discrimination and inequality in education as justification for targeted interventions aimed at leveling the playing field for marginalized communities.

However, supporters of Jacobson’s complaint argue that while promoting diversity and addressing historical injustices are laudable goals, resorting to race-based criteria in scholarship awards undermines the principles of meritocracy and equal treatment.

They contend that scholarships should be awarded based on individual merit, academic achievement, and financial need, rather than immutable characteristics such as race. Moreover, they raise concerns about the unintended consequences of perpetuating racial divisions and reinforcing stereotypes through race-based policies and initiatives.


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