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Equal Protection Project Calls On Albany (NY) Public Library To “Cease and Desist” From Blacks-Only Fellowship Program

Equal Protection Project Calls On Albany (NY) Public Library To “Cease and Desist” From Blacks-Only Fellowship Program

“we trust that you will cease and desist from continuing to conduct the [Fellowship] based on racially discriminatory factors … [and will open the] program to all otherwise eligible applicants without regard to race….

“It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race,” Chief Justice Roberts famously said.  The public library system of New York’s capital city has now gotten into the sordid business game.

In 2020, the Albany Public Library created a paid summer internship at two of the library’s branches that was available only to black graduates of the library school program at the State University of New York at Albany.  While this summer’s library fellowship program is available to students and graduates from any American Library Association-accredited school, eligibility still turns on the color of the applicant’s skin.

The application contains a race-based litmus test – it explicitly limits the fellowship to “two Black recent Library and Information Science graduates.”  Simply put, graduates who are white – or any race other than black, for that matter – will not be considered.

This week, the Legal Insurrection Foundation’s Equal Protection Project took the first step to shut down this blatantly discriminatory and unconstitutional program.

The paid internship is called the “Touhey Library Equity Fellowship,” and is named after its financial benefactor, the Carl E. Touhey Foundation, which has a history of sponsoring race-based projects in the name of “equity.”

In a letter to the Albany Public Library (and copied to the New York State Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights), the Equal Protection Project slammed the Albany Public Library’s fellowship program for “appear[ing] to violate a variety of state and federal civil rights laws, as well state and federal constitutional prohibitions on race-based discrimination,” and demanded that the library cease and desist using skin color as the program’s litmus test for an applicant’s eligibility.

It has come to our attention that the Albany Public Library (“APL”) is currently accepting applications for its third annual Touhey Library Equity Fellowship (“TLEF”), a paid summer internship at two of the APL’s branches that is available only to non-white graduates of library school programs. As the TLEF is racially exclusionary – only black students and black recent graduates are eligible to apply to and participate in the program – we write to express our concern and call to your attention that this program appears to violate a variety of state and federal civil rights laws, as well state and federal constitutional prohibitions on race-based discrimination.

The internship is described on the APL’s website as being open only “to Black graduates of master of library and information science … or master of science in information systems … programs at American Library Association-accredited institutions who completed their degrees between 2020 and May 2023.” The website description further notes that “[t]he paid internship gives recent Black graduates of library school programs the opportunity to gain valuable practical skills and proficiency in many aspects of public librarianship.” And, critically, the application for the TLEF explicitly restricts participation in the fellowship “to two Black recent Library and Information Science graduates,” and unequivocally states that only “Black students or new professionals” are eligible to apply.1

The purpose of this letter is to put the APL on notice of the racially discriminatory nature of the TLEF. It violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for a recipient of federal money, such as the APL, to discriminate on the basis of race.2 See 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, et seq. Similarly, racial discrimination in the context of hiring and employment transgresses Title VII. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. Needless to say, the TLEF also defies the analogous statutory civil rights protections of the New York State and Albany City Human Rights Laws. See N.Y. Exec. L. § 296; Albany City Code, Art. III, § 48-26….

Because the blatant racial classification utilized by the APL is presumptively invalid, and since the APL cannot show any extraordinary government justification for engaging in such invidious discrimination, the TLEF appears to transgress state and federal civil rights statutes and constitutional equal protection guarantees.

We thank you for your attention to this letter, and we trust that you will cease and desist from continuing to conduct the TLEF based on racially discriminatory factors. We understand that the application period is still open. Please confirm to us in writing that the APL is opening the TLEF program to all otherwise eligible applicants without regard to race, and identify the steps that the APL is taking to remedy the current application, evaluation and award process.

In its letter, the EPP explained that the equity fellowship program would fail strict scrutiny – the two-prong judicial test for evaluating the constitutionality of race-based government programs – because it does not advance a compelling government interest or do so in a narrowly tailored way.

According to the website of the Friends and Foundation of Albany Public Library, the racially-exclusive hiring criterion was implemented to advance “diversity, equity and inclusion” at the library.

And, the executive director of the Albany Public Library is quoted on the library’s website saying that the purpose of the fellowship is to “attract Black librarians to Albany Public Library” because “[t]he library profession isn’t as racially diverse as it could be …. Having professional staff who reflect the community we serve is important and has the potential to inspire our young patrons to explore a career in libraries.”

Putting the focus on equality of outcomes for racial groups as a collective, rather than equality of rights for individuals is a classic “equity” argument.   But the U.S. Supreme Court has been clear that achieving racial balance is an “illegitimate” goal, and that race-based discrimination in furtherance of that objective is “patently unconstitutional.”  “[A]t the heart of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection,” said the high court, “lies the simple command that the Government must treat citizens as individuals, not as simply components of a racial, religious, sexual or national class.”

The Supreme Court, in Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education, also rejected the library’s “role model” argument, stating that “[c]arried to its logical extreme, the idea that black students are better off with black teachers could lead to the very system [of segregation] the Court rejected in Brown v. Board of Education.”

Indeed, in the EPP’s letter to the Albany Public Library, it pointed out that the Supreme Court has recognized only two interests compelling enough to justify racial classifications: (1) to remedy the effects of past segregation or discrimination in the specific industry and locality at issue in which the government played a role; and (2) to attain a diverse student body.  Neither applies here.

Further, the library can’t demonstrate that its equity program is narrowly tailored because that requires, under Supreme Court precedent, that race be used in a “nonmechanical way.”  Under the Albany Public Library’s program, however, if applicants are not black, they are automatically excluded from consideration.  That’s as mechanical as it gets.

While abstract concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion sound righteous, the label is a smokescreen for a socially corrosive and anti-American agenda that is being aggressively pushed by academics, corporate industry, the media and leftists in government that puts a racial spin on the Marxist concept of class struggle.  Instead of pitting workers against the capitalists, the taxonomy of DEI divides society into whites and non-whites – the former are labeled the oppressors and the latter the oppressed.

Against that backdrop, proponents of DEI like Ibram X. Kendi – the author of an instruction manual for racists that is deceptively titled How to be an Antiracist – have extolled the virtues of anti-white DEI racism.  Indeed, Kendi has declared that “[t]he only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination,” and “[t]he only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

Although racial discrimination under the guise of DEI is in vogue, it is glaringly unlawful – especially when engaged in by a governmental actor like a public library.  And we at the  Equal Protection Project are fighting it.

The full letter from the EPP to the Albany Public Library can be read here.

[Click Image To Read Letter]


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Way to go

Who knew librarians were so radical, in my day they were conservative little old ladies with grey hair in tight curls that loved books

1885. The posse, out on patrol, catches the bad guy. Several go over to the tree, throw a rope over a big limb and set the noose.

The sheriff says, “Hey, hold on there, boys. We gotta give him a trial first.”

“OK, we’ll give him a trial, then we’ll string him up.”

2023. “OK, we’ll open it up to all applicants. But we’ll only choose black applicants.”

JackinSilverSpring | March 23, 2023 at 11:43 pm

To rephrase Henry Ford: APL accepts any applicant so long as he/she is black. And as George Wallace said: segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

RepublicanRJL | March 24, 2023 at 6:37 am

The EPP is giving a GTHO to the APL.

Way to go!!

I’m old enough to be a teen during the turbulent 60s and this is nothing more than putting those equity audits on steroids.

Black racism isn’t one pigment cell better than white racism.

Note that “professor” Kendi’s operating word is “discrimination.”

Suburban Farm Guy | March 24, 2023 at 8:01 am

Another big problem illustrated here: the use of Foundations as shields for bad behavior. The rich, shielding their money — meaning we all pick up the tab for — but still getting to apply it as power to back their fetishes. So (for example) the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ‘pays for’ all those speedboats and nice life jackets and luxury bus lines that facilitate the invasion of our southern border. But they’re not paying. We are, because of their supposed charity tax write-offs. No, we’re paying for it. Note how the Touhey foundation here has more money left over every year. It’s a horrible scam that needs a whole lot more attention. We are being had. It’s just not right.

    Suburban Farm Guy in reply to Suburban Farm Guy. | March 24, 2023 at 8:13 am

    Did any of us vote for our southern border being invaded? No we did not. We explicitly passed laws against it that are still on the books. But we get to foot the bill for it anyway and the Foundations get richer and more powerful every year. Same here w the Touhey foundation. They get richer by forcing illegal shit down our throats. And making us pay for it! Am I the only one who sees a problem here????

Is it likely that as these blatantly descriminatory policies will just move underground when they are shot down by the courts? In that case we will have exactly what they claim they are fighting [structural racism] except with them as perpetrators; right now they are the perpetrators of open racism. But if they do go underground and discriminate secretly, what options exist then?

OwenKellogg-Engineer | March 25, 2023 at 9:33 am

Carl E. Touhey….
Any relation to Ellsworth Toohey I wonder?