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George Floyd scholarship for black students faces federal discrimination complaint
Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

George Floyd scholarship for black students faces federal discrimination complaint

A George Floyd scholarship made available only to black students is in violation of the Civil Rights Act, according to a federal complaint.

North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, established the scholarship in 2020 and claims to "impact the learning environment in a positive manner" by simply increasing the number of black students through the program.

The scholarship page also remarked that the act of "diversifying" its learning environment is key to becoming a university that "looks and acts like Heaven."

Under the criteria section, the school noted that applicants must be "a student who is Black or African American, that is, a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa."

Cornell Law professor William Jacobson wrote in his complaint to the United States Department of Education that the scholarship "engages invidious discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin."

The professor's complaint was directed at the Office for Civil Rights in Chicago, and alleged that the scholarship violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits schools from discriminating based on race.

"Students who identify as white, Hispanic or Asian — are automatically ineligible for the scholarship," he wrote. Title VI "prohibits intentional discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in any 'program or activity' that receives federal financial assistance," the complaint continued.

Jacobson told the College Fix that the school's requirements were "openly racially discriminatory."

"Regardless of the purpose of the racial discrimination, it is wrong and unlawful," he went on. "NCU needs to come up with a remedial plan to compensate students shut out of the George Floyd Scholarship due to discrimination."

Jacobson cited a Supreme Court decision from 2023 that discriminating based on race for college admissions is illegal. The ruling in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard Collegewas a major change in how affirmative action can applied in the country.

"After the Supreme Court’s decision ... it is clear that discriminating on the basis of race to achieve diversity is not lawful."

"As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, ‘Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,'" the professor wrote.

Jacobson also cited Justice Neil Gorsuch in his complaint, who said that it didn't matter if a school's discrimination against a member of a protected class was done so with the intention to promote equality at the group level.

"NCU knows better than to run educational scholarships that exclude students based on race," Jacobson concluded. "NCU’s nondiscrimination policies absolutely forbid racial discrimination. Why isn’t NCU living up to its own rules?"

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