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UW-Madison ‘Students of Color’ program under Dept. of Education investigation

‘BIPOC Fellows’ program faces federal investigation

The federal Department of Education launched an investigation into the University of Wisconsin for a no-whites-allowed program.

The Office for Civil Rights is investigating the “Creando Comunidad: Community Engaged BIPOC Fellows Program.” It is only open to non-white students.

The OCR opened the inquiry after the Equal Protection Project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation filed a complaint in January, according to the Washington Examiner.

The EPP also filed a complaint against North Central University in Minneapolis for its “George Floyd Memorial Scholarship,” as reported Monday by The College Fix.

“The opening of an investigation by OCR is an important first step in bringing accountability to the university for a program that on its face discriminates in favor of ‘BIPOC’ students, a racial and ethnic categorization,” EPP founder William Jacobson told the Washington Examiner. He also teaches law at Cornell University.

“The law requires equal protection for all students, regardless of race and ethnicity, and we hope that a full investigation and determination will uphold this principle,” Professor Jacobson said.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination on the basis of race in education institutions.

The public university “will cooperate,” a spokesperson told the Washington Examiner.

The program includes a $500 scholarship and mentoring. The initiative “is a cohort-based program that convenes monthly to connect undergraduate Students of Color who are currently, or striving to, participate in community engagement,” the website states.

The Morgridge Center for Public Service, which hosts the cohort, aims to “center and empower the strengths of BIPOC undergraduate students” in community building.

At least one of the pages for the initiative now returns a 404 error message.

The Legal Insurrection Foundation’s project has challenged dozens of programs, according to an article announcing this latest inquiry.

“This discrimination comes in various ways, but the overarching theme is to exclude or diminish some people and promote others, based on race, color, or ethnicity,” Jacobson wrote Monday at Legal Insurrection. “We have filed over 20 complaints and legal actions in the year since launch in February 2023, with at least 10 schools withdrawing or modifying the discriminatory programs.”

Southern Illinois University’s medical school rewrote a “diversity” scholarship earlier this year, following a complaint by the legal group, as previously reported by The Fix.

MORE: Illinois university nursing program gets ‘racial healing’ grant for DEI curriculum

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.