A professor has filed a complaint against the University of Minnesota for hosting a paid summer internship program that reportedly excluded white students.
William Jacobson, a law professor at Cornell University, filed the complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, alleging that the taxpayer-funded University of Minnesota had discriminated whites with an internship associated with its graduate studies program. Per the Daily Mail:
The internship previously set out to ‘prepare students of color and Native Americans for graduate school’ and includes a $6,000 stipend for participants, according to a description on the school’s website.
Professor Jacobson, 64, along with his conservative nonprofit group, The Equal Protection Project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation, filed the complaint last week with federal officials.
According to a previous listing on the University of Minnesota’s website, the Multicultural Summer Research Opportunities Program is ‘an intensive 10-week summer program in which undergraduate students of color work full-time with a faculty mentor on a research project.’
Students applying to the program were asked to provide demographic information.
Speaking to the New York Post, Jacobson said the university participated in an increasing trend of discriminating students “on the basis of race as long as the discrimination is against whites or Asians or others.”
“We don’t accept that,” Jacobson told the outlet, calling the policy “regressive” by “undoing civil-rights progress” and taking the U.S. “back to the 1940s and 1950s.”
While Jacobson believed the university could find ways to attract minority students to the internship, he did not believe they could discriminate.
“What you can’t do is set up categorical racial barriers to participation, which is what they’ve done,” he said.
The university reportedly removed the race-based eligibility requirements after negative attention had been drawn to the program. It now only requires applicants to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
A representative for the university told the Post that it “regularly revisits the selection criteria across thousands of different grants, scholarships and other financial awards provided to our students each year,” adding that it would be “evaluating the criteria for this student support program as part of this routine process and make any appropriate updates.”
Jacobson also told Fox News his complaint urged the “U.S. Department of Education to fully investigate how pervasive segregationist practices are at U. Minnesota.”
“Federal funding should not be used to promote educational opportunities restricted by skin color,” he said. “Federal funding for U. Minnesota needs to be reevaluated.”
“If this was a program that restricted participation to whites, there would be an absolute uproar, and we would be part of that uproar,” he added.