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University of Alabama offers at least $200K in scholarships that exclude on basis of race or sex

ANALYSIS: University says scholarships under review

The University of Alabama lists at least twenty potentially illegal scholarships that discriminate based on characteristics such as race or sex.

Their total combined value exceeds $200,000 annually.

But the university is currently reviewing its programs due to “recent judicial and legislative activity,” according to a spokesperson.

Alex House, the assistant director for media relations, told The College Fix recent legal activity “has prompted institutions around the nation, including The University of Alabama, to review scholarship programs to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws.”

“This process is ongoing,” House said via email.

The governor of Alabama recently signed legislation that prohibits the use of state funds to finance diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and policies.

Edward Bartlett, the president of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, a civil liberties organization, criticized the scholarships.

He told The Fix, “These scholarships are a clear violation of the federal Title IX law, and contravene the intent of the Alabama law to ban any ‘program’ that is ‘based on an individual’s race [or] sex.”

“Programs that pander to the gender agenda are an affront to the university’s mission,” Bartlett said via email. He quoted the university mission to “advance the intellectual and social condition of the people of the state, the nation, and the world through the creation, translation, and dissemination of knowledge with an emphasis on quality programs of teaching, research, and service.”

Bartlett said offering “priority” or “preference” to certain groups, as some scholarships do, is still illegal.

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He said “such statements suggest a ‘preference’ for certain classes of individuals, which violates the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Additionally, multiple scholarships on the website give priority to individuals “whose enrollment would enhance the diversity of the University’s student population” without clarifying how diversity would be determined.

Bartlett said “the new Alabama law refers to ‘diversity’ 13 times, and expressly prohibits programs that are designed to promote ‘diversity.’ So this language appears to violate the new Alabama law.”

The John S. & Grace P. Neel Endowed Scholarship is based on participation in a “Women’s Initiative Program,” but does not explicitly state that the recipient needs to be a woman.

When asked if that was legal, Bartlett said “the key is whether the Women’s Initiative Program evaluates applicants based on their sex. If all former recipients are female, this is clear evidence of anti-male sex discrimination.”

Seven scholarships, including the Hester Joe Willis Memorial Endowed Scholarship and the Ann and Patience Stevens Scholarship, give either priority or preference to female applicants.

An additional seven scholarships, including the John W. Nixon – Fiesta Bowl Endowed Scholarship in Social Work, are offered to “minority” students. Furthermore, the Ione Hendrick Roche Memorial Endowed Scholarship is given specifically to a “minority woman.”

The Leeman C. Joslin Scholarship in Behavioral Studies and the Dr. Sandral Hullett Endowed Scholarship both give preference to African-American students, while the Fran Bond and Ed Holmes Endowed Scholarship gives priority to male students enrolled in early childhood or elementary education programs.

Moreover, the SJ4A Scholarship Program: Training of Community-Embedded Social Justice Archivists is awarded to “Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) paraprofessionals.”

The Yong Ho Shin scholarship prioritizes “Korean graduate students.”

Scholarships established through wills or trusts can discriminate on the basis of race or sex, but only if they allocate equal funds to excluded groups.

Other universities have faced similar controversies for scholarships allocated on the basis of sex or ace.

Southern Illinois University recently rewrote a scholarship after a federal civil rights complaint from the Equal Protection Project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation alleged discrimination.

The EPP recently filed a complaint against North Central University’s “George Floyd Memorial Scholarship” only offered to black students.

MORE: Congressional bill seeks to crack down on DEI in medical schools

IMAGE: University of Alabama/Facebook

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Benjamin Rothove is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has 50,000 subscribers on YouTube, serves as the Chairman of UW-Madison Students for DeSantis, and is the National Vice-Chair of Young Leaders for Keep Nine.