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Arkansas health agency ends scholarship that excluded white students after lawsuit

The Arkansas Minority Health Commission has ended a scholarship program that excluded white students to settle a federal lawsuit filed by Do No Harm, a group of health professionals working against discriminatory DEI policies.

The lawsuit, filed in mid-April, challenged the constitutionality of the scholarship sponsored by the commission that limited eligibility based on race, according to the attorney general of Arkansas.

To settle the lawsuit, the commission agreed “it will no longer offer the scholarship and will not reinstate it with limitations for eligibility based on race,” Attorney General Tim Griffin stated in a May 8 news release. “… As a general matter, under the U.S. Constitution, the government cannot treat its citizens differently based on their race.”

The scholarship awarded $1,000 to full-time students and $500 to part-time students, the Washington Examiner reported, adding the 2023 scholarship “awarded a total of $27,500 to 29 students studying a healthcare-related discipline at a college or university.”

The lawsuit had alleged that the scholarship program discriminated against students because, to be eligible for it, an applicant needed to confirm that he or she was not white, Do No Harm stated in a news release.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of an Arkansas pre-nursing student “who otherwise met all of the scholarship’s requirements but could not apply for the scholarship because of her race,” the group stated.

“Medical scholarships, like medicine itself, should be open to all. I am grateful that Arkansas ended its discrimination,” the student, who is not named, stated in the release.

A May 11 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by Stanley Goldfarb, chairman of Do No Harm, and Mark Perry, a senior fellow with the group, said the organization has successfully stopped many educational organizations from race-based discrimination in recent years.

“All told, we have submitted federal civil-rights complaints for race- and sex-based discrimination at more than 100 medical schools, leading the Office for Civil Rights to open at least 25 formal federal investigations so far,” the men wrote. “To date, almost a dozen medical schools have abandoned their racially discriminatory woke programs, most recently at the University of Minnesota Medical School, which removed illegal criteria for an award for graduating medical students.”

The two argued that although the Office for Civil Rights has been active in enforcing the law, the situation remains pressing.

“The Office for Civil Rights will become even more important if the Supreme Court ends racial preferences for college admissions in its pending Students for Fair Admissions cases,” they wrote.

“If that happens, universities will almost certainly try to get around the decision by creating more scholarships, fellowships, internships and clerkships that are available only to members of specific races. Regardless of whether that happens, the Office for Civil Rights will continue its necessary work—a lonely federal outpost fighting the racial discrimination that the Biden administration is trying to impose on the country.”

MORE: Brown University ends no-whites-allowed course after complaint

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