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U. Minnesota scrubs info on racially segregated event after federal complaint

University of Minnesota ‘serial offender’ of federal civil rights law, scholar says

The University of Minnesota recently held an event just for “BIPOC students” considering grad school, prompting a complaint to be filed with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights alleging racial discrimination.

As the feds review the complaint’s merits, the university scrubbed the event page and wiped information about the gathering from its website.

The complaint over the segregated grad school event is one of more than two dozen alleging Title VI and Title IX violations that have been filed against the University of Minnesota over the last four years.

Most recently, on Friday, Legal Insurrection Foundation’s Equal Protection Project filed a federal complaint with the Office for Civil Rights against the University of Minnesota for a summer research program that excludes white applicants.

The Multicultural Summer Research Opportunities program is a “10-week summer research program for undergraduate students that is only available to non-white applicants,” states the complaint, which includes screenshots of university advertisements promoting the program exclusively for “undergrads of color.”

“Racial discrimination by a public institution is illegal regardless of which race suffers. Discrimination against white applicants is just as unlawful as discrimination against black or other non-white applicants,” the complaint states.

“There is no good form of racial discrimination. Because UMN receives federal funding, OCR had the power and obligation to make UMN stop and to impose whatever remedial relief is necessary.”

As for the other 26 Title VI and Title IX complaints, they were filed by Mark Perry, an alumnus of the University of Minnesota, professor emeritus from the University of Michigan-Flint, and a senior fellow with Do No Harm.

Perry’s most recent complaint centered on a March 23 event called “Thinking About Grad School?: An Honest Conversation for BIPOC Students.”

Perry wrote to the Office for Civil Rights that the event “was open exclusively to ‘Black, Indigenous, and grad students of color’ while illegally excluding and discriminating against non-BIPOC undergraduate students on the basis of their race, color or national origin.”

Perry has filed hundreds of Title IX and Title VI complaints against universities in recent years.

However, out of the 809 complaints he has initiated, there is no other college or university in the nation that comes close to the University of Minnesota in “demonstrating such an egregious and embarrassing record of failing to actively enforce Title VI and Title IX.”

Perry wrote the comments in an email to the university’s counsel and other officials, a copy of which was provided to The Fix.

The complaint focused on the no-whites grad school event was “especially notable,” he wrote, as “it is the 26th federal civil rights complaint for Title VI and Title IX violations that I’ve filed vs. UM over the last four years (for approximately 50 violations).”

Perry added he can only conclude that either the university has an “an inexcusable lack of awareness” or “an unacceptable lack of concern” for civil rights laws.

Therefore, while the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights evaluates his complaint, Perry asked campus officials to evaluate his complaint internally and take steps to prevent racially segregated BIPOC-only events from taking place.

In addition, Perry asked them to “implement some internal review process for new programs … to ensure compliance with federal civil rights laws and UM’s only policies that prohibit discrimination.”

The Fix emailed the University of Minnesota’s media team twice in the past several weeks and asked if an attorney reviews programs before they are released and if the university will take any active steps toward preventing further discrimination against its students. It did not respond.

MORE: Arkansas health agency ends scholarship that excluded white students

Perry has a successful track record with his complaints against the University of Minnesota. Out of the 26 complaints, three have sided in Perry’s favor, one in favor of the university, and three additional complaints were opened for investigation.

The one sided in favor of the university was concerning a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship. The others are still being reviewed by the OCR, but are expected to be opened for investigation soon, Perry told The Fix.

In an email to The Fix, Perry said that regardless of whether a university is a “serial offender” all “universities are usually held accountable by OCR for civil rights violations when they are found to violate Title VI or IX by engaging in race-based or sex-based discrimination.”

MORE: University STEM program excludes whites and Asian, complaint says

IMAGE: University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts

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About the Author
Gigi De La Torre -- Franciscan University of Steubenville