(March 14) – 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?”