U.S. Representatives Call For Investigation of U. Minnesota DEI Discrimination After Equal Protection Project Complaint
Letter signed by five GOP representatives: “While we are pleased that the University has since updated its website, there is still cause for concern if this is a common UMN practice that expands across departments…. [I]t is critical that you fully and fairly exercise your authority, investigate these unlawful practices by the University of Minnesota, and take proper action to ensure that this does not continue.”
The Equal Protection Project (EPP)(EqualProtect.org) of Legal Insurrection Foundation filed a Civil Rights Complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education regarding a paid summer research internship program open only to non-whites.
The University of Minnesota has a summer internship program called the Multicultural Summer Research Opportunities Program (“MSROP”) – a 10-week summer research program for undergraduate students that is only available to non-white applicants….
The racial guidelines are explicit and unambiguous – no white students allowed, you must “Identify as a Student of Color or Native American.” ….
Fox News digital has picked up the story.
As of this writing it is one of the top trending stories on the homepage with over 5000 [now 9000] comments and growing fast ….
I was quoted in the Fox News digital article calling for a wide-ranging investigation of U. Minnesota DEI practices:
“We urge 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,” Jacobson told Fox News Digital. “Federal funding for U. Minnesota needs to be reevaluated.” ….
The controversy has generated substantial additional media coverage:
U. Minnesota promptly changed the discriminatory language on its website and scrubbed the incriminating entries, Victory: U. Minnesota Drops Race Requirements Excluding Whites From Summer Program After Equal Protection Project Complaint:
We have confirmed that since Sunday night, when the story went viral, U. Minnesota has changed the name of the program and no longer describes it as a “Multicultural” program for “students of color” ….
The Eligibility Requirements no longer require that a person identify as a student of color or Native American….
Clearly, U. Minnesota has retreated from its open promotion of a racist program. We await formal confirmation that U. Minnesota has changed not only the website. This change that doesn’t end the problem, because there are students who have been denied an educational opportunity by the university on the basis of skin color. Will U. Minnesota reopen the application process? Will it add opportunities for those students who lost out? There is more to be done beyond dropping the racist advertising and program requirements.
We will continue to pursue this matter, but for now, we’ll take the victory for equality and equal protection.
U. Minnesota as the story continued to grow, U. Minnesota now is on record that it has changed the program, not just the website, as repored in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The University of Minnesota revised its criteria for a summer research program amid complaints from some conservatives who argued the program discriminated against white students….
Earlier this month, a nonprofit that has launched other discrimination claims across the country asked federal officials to examine the U program ….
In mid-May, the Equal Protection Project, affiliated with a Rhode Island-based nonprofit called the Legal Insurrection Foundation, sent a complaint to the federal Department of Education, arguing that the program inappropriately discriminated against white students. The project has filed similar complaints elsewhere across the country.
On May 24, the U’s Office of Undergraduate Education issued a statement saying it was “aware of concerns” about the program and had made some changes.
It “looked carefully at the criteria for this program and eliminated reference to any specific populations of students,” updated language on its website and changed the program name to Pathways to Graduate School: Summer Research Program.
Four Minnesota Republican Congressmen joined by Burgess Owens from Utah, have issued a strongly worded demand to DoE and OCR for a full investigation of U. Minnesota. The NY Post reports:
A group of Republican members of Congress called on federal education officials to take “proper action” against the University of Minnesota after the school offered a summer research program that banned white students.
Five conservative representatives on Friday urged US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Catherine Lhamon, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, to continue the investigation into the “Multicultural Summer Research Opportunities Program” for “students of color and Native Americans.”
“It is our understanding that a case has already been opened into this matter and it is critical that you fully and fairly exercise your authority, investigate these unlawful practices by the University of Minnesota, and take proper action to ensure that this does not continue,” wrote Reps. Brad Finstad, Tom Emmer, Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber, all Minnesota Republicans, and Burgess Owens (R-Utah)
The college made adjustments to the program last week after the Equal Protection Project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation filed a complaint with federal civil rights officials.
The university said in a statement that it had been unaware that the segregation was illegal….
The Equal Protection Project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation called the university’s corrective action last week “a good first step” but urged officials to “issue a formal apology and implement changes to make sure the discrimination does not continue out of public view.”
From the press release issued by Rep. Brad Finstad, who organized the letter:
Today, Congressman Brad Finstad (MN-01) was joined by Majority Whip Tom Emmer (MN-06), Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), and Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08), as well as House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Chairman Burgess Owens (UT-04) in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon, expressing concern about recent reports of discrimination within an undergraduate internship program at the University of Minnesota open to only non-white applicants.
The letter outlines Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which expressly prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origins in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance….
“As a University of Minnesota alumnus, I find it unacceptable that our state’s leading institution of higher education has deprived students of prestigious educational opportunities because of their skin color,” said Rep. Finstad. “It is extremely concerning that the University, which operates on taxpayer dollars, would create racial barriers to programs and resources by excluding qualified students because they don’t fit a certain demographic, which is why my colleagues and I are urging the Department of Education to take immediate action to ensure these discriminatory practices do not continue.”
“It is illegal and flat-out wrong for the University of Minnesota to authorize an internship program that explicitly excludes students of certain races,” said Majority Whip Emmer. “While, after public backlash, the U of M will now allow students of all races to apply, we are deeply concerned that this happened in the first place. We look forward to the results of the Department of Education’s investigation.”
“The University of Minnesota’s MSROP, which lists its top eligibility requirement for the program as being able to ‘identify as a Student of Color or Native American’ is a clear violation of the U.S. Education Department’s laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin,” said Rep. Fischbach (MN-07). “I sincerely hope the Secretary of Education takes this matter seriously and exercises its authority to stop such a requirement and ensure it does not continue in Minnesota or anywhere else in the country.”
“The University of Minnesota has become so woke they have circled back around to discrimination,” said Rep. Stauber (MN-08). “As a taxpayer-funded institution, this is unacceptable and inexcusable. That’s why I joined Rep. Finstad and the Minnesota Republican House delegation to demand Secretary Cardona look into this program and ensure all students at UMN are protected against discrimination.”
“I grew up in the Jim Crow South during the time of segregation, the KKK, and institutional discrimination, so I’m personally disgusted to see this blatant racism from the University of Minnesota,” said Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Chairman Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04). “Every American should be appalled that their taxpayer dollars support this federally-funded institution’s segregationist practice that denies educational opportunities to students because of their skin color.”
The letter provides, in part:
We write to express serious concerns with the recent report that the University of Minnesota’s Office of Undergraduate Studies opened a paid undergraduate internship program application to only non-white applicants.1 As a taxpayer-funded university, this is nothing short of unacceptable….
While we are pleased that the University has since updated its website, there is still cause for concern if this is a common UMN practice that expands across departments….
The University’s decision to offer this program only to Students of Color and Native Americans was in clear violation of this law and others that were put in place to protect all students from this form of discrimination. Discrimination under the guise of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is still discrimination, and it is reprehensible that the University of Minnesota has fostered this type of learning environment.
As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, proper oversight of this program falls under your jurisdiction. It is our understanding that a case has already been opened into this matter and it is critical that you fully and fairly exercise your authority, investigate these unlawful practices by the University of Minnesota, and take proper action to ensure that this does not continue.
We will continue to pursue this matter, and to achieve systemic change at U. Minnesota and elsewhere.
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