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University of Oklahoma discriminates against white students: federal lawsuit

University allegedly told white female student she would get more aid if she was black

The University of Oklahoma deleted some diversity information to “obscure the extent to which it has engaged in race-based decision making,” according to a pending federal lawsuit.

Furthermore, it appears more pages were deleted after the filing of the suit, according to a review by The College Fix.

“It is therefore difficult to determine the full extent of the University’s race-based programs,” the lawsuit states.

The federal lawsuit accuses the public university in Norman of violating the 14th Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by awarding some financial aid on the basis of race.

“Rather than determining who to admit based on their race, the University of Oklahoma determines how much financial aid it gives to students based on their race,” the lawsuit states. “That is unlawful.”

The lawsuit lists a multitude of race-based programming the university offers.

These programs include the “McLaurin & Lewis Leadership Conference,” which is a “college preview program for African American students,” “Welcome Black Weekend,” an orientation event for black students, and “Black Excellence Ceremony,” a segregated graduation event.

The College Fix was able to verify that these events do exist, but the university’s webpages cited in the lawsuit no longer exist.

No one at the university responded to requests for comment.

The Fix contacted the university’s media relations department three times in the past week and a half, asking for comment. The Fix also contacted the named defendants in the lawsuit on June 10.

The plaintiffs, three white students, filed the lawsuit on May 15. According to the Wayback Machine, an internet archive, at least one of the pages was still in existence at that time. The university had already deleted another of the pages, and the archive did not record the third.

The defendants’ legal counsel Pete Patterson declined to comment for this story. (Former College Fix reporter Kate Hardiman is a listed co-counsel).

According to the lawsuit, the university had a page about “increas[ing] African American student . . . representation on campus.” The page no longer exists. The Fix could find nothing similar to the phrase anywhere else on the university’s website.

The lawsuit says that the university is doing it on purpose. “In an effort to obscure the extent to which it has engaged in race-based decision making, the University of Oklahoma has recently deleted many webpages with information about its diversity and race-based programs.”

The lawsuit alleges that an admissions official told Kayla Savage, one of the plaintiffs, that “financial aid was generally not available to students like, her but would have been if she were African American.”

All three defendants identified themselves as “white and non-Hispanic” on their college applications. Brayden Johnson is in an accelerated master’s degree program. Logan Rhines is a junior.

“Universities that discriminate on the basis of race when making financial-aid awards violate the same equal protection principles that apply in the admissions context and elsewhere,” the lawsuit states.

There is statistical evidence, the attorneys argue, to further back up their complaint.

“A statistical analysis of publicly available data indicates that the University of Oklahoma considers race when awarding financial aid to its students,” the lawsuit states.

The analysis of UO’s financial aid “analysis shows that black students receive more institutional grant aid from the University of Oklahoma than other students, even when controlling to the extent possible for factors such as family income.”

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IMAGES: University of Oklahoma; Welcome Black OU/Instagram

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Brendan McDonald is a student at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire.