SUNY Albany Participation In Blacks-Only Public Library Fellowship Results In Civil Rights Complaint By Equal Protection Project
“It’s very disturbing that a SUNY school created a racially segregated program and promoted it for years, yet refuses to acknowledge its responsibility by asserting that it does not ‘administer’ the program.”
The Albany (NY) Public Library has a summer fellowship program limited to black library school candidates. The program was developed in partnership with the State University of New York at Albany (aka University at Albany), which has heavily promoted the program. Initially only SUNY Albany students could participate, though for 2023 the program was opened up to black applicants from other schools.
The Equal Protection Project (EqualProtect.org) of Legal Insurrection Foundation served a cease and desist letter on the library. The fellowship program was taken down from the library website, but the library has not yet issued a formal statement on the program or our complaints.
- Equal Protection Project Calls On Albany (NY) Public Library To “Cease and Desist” From Blacks-Only Fellowship Program
EPP also served a separate cease and desist letter on SUNY Albany. The response was a brush off, asserting that because SUNY Albany does not “administer” the fellowship, it bears no responsibility.
- Equal Protection Project Calls On SUNY To Cease Supporting Blacks-Only Albany Public Library Fellowship
So EPP has filed a civil rights complaint against SUNY Albany with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. (Full complaint letter embedded at the bottom of this post.)
The NY Post covered the story:
“Racial discrimination by a public institution is illegal regardless of which race suffers – discrimination against white applicants is just as unlawful as discrimination against black or other non-white applicants,” says the EPP complaint filed with the federal Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights and obtained by The Post.
The Post first reported on the controversy in April, when EPP sent a “cease and desist” letter to SUNY Albany, a.k.a. the University at Albany or UAlbany, to end its sponsorship of the “racially exclusionary program”, known as the Touhey Library Equity Fellowship….
According to UAlbany’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s web page, the TLEF was created in 2020 out of a “partnership” between the university and the Albany Public Library and designed to offer a fellowship limited to “students of color” in the school’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.
Ualbany repeatedly promoted the program on its website and social media, the complaint notes.
The internship offers $1,500 scholarships and up to $11,500 in stipends to “black graduates of master library and information science … or master of science of science in information systems.”
The Albany Public Library website says the 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.”
The library deactivated the web page after EPP issued its cease-and-desist request, though the group previously took a screenshot of it as evidence.
“SUNY Albany has an expansive bureaucracy supposedly devoted to fighting discrimination, yet no one thought to ask why the university was creating and promoting a racially-exclusionary program?” said William Jacobson, founder of EqualProtect.org, to The Post.
“This raises the likelihood that certain forms of discrimination are deemed acceptable.
“SUNY Albany and the SUNY system need to examine whether in purporting to fight systemic racism they have perpetuated racism but in a different form. The remedy for racism should never be more racism.” …
A UAlbany rep previously told The Post that the school is “not involved in the administration of this fellowship program,” suggesting it is not engaging in discrimination.
But in its complaint, EPP said, “U.Albany created the racially-restrictive program and continues to promote it, which is a violation of law regardless of who administers it.”
Jacobson added to The Post, “It’s very disturbing that a SUNY school created a racially segregated program and promoted it for years, yet refuses to acknowledge its responsibility by asserting that it does not ‘administer’ the program.”
“This attempt to offload the discrimination to an outside entity rings hollow since SUNY Albany has been involved every step of the way.”
I am scheduled to be on Fox and Friends at 6:40 a.m. on June 13, 2023, to talk about SUNY-Albany. (bumped)
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