26 February 2003
Eye, meet sharp stick
It's called, yes, "The United White Persons College Fund," and Texas Tech senior Matthew Coday wants to draw a lawsuit or at the very least, draw attention. And he sounds like he means business:
I would just dare anyone to take me to court and try to have our organization declared discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional.
And what about the obvious model, the United Negro College Fund?
I would love to see organizations like the United Negro College Fund disbanded.
John Rosenberg comments:
The Fourth Circuit has held that race-exclusive scholarships are unconstitutional (Podberesky v. Kirwan, 38 F.3d 147 (4th Cir. 1994), cert. denied 115 S. Ct. 2001 (1995)), at least at public institutions. Private organizations such as the United Negro College Fund and the Bill Gates Foundation are allowed wider latitude to engage in discrimination, but I find it curious that, so far as I know, there have been no serious efforts to attack their tax-exempt status on the same grounds that were used to take away the tax exemption from Bob Jones University, i.e., that racial discrimination violates "public policy."
Well, we shall see how "serious" Coday is. Given the current flap over the University of Michigan's affirmative-action policy, Coday's announcement might end up sliding under the radar for a while, which would run counter to his apparent desire to jump-start a debate. Besides, a lawsuit is a terrible thing to waste.
(Originally from The Chronicle of Higher Education [requires subscription])