Southern Illinois U Med School Scholarship Discriminating Against Non-LGBTQI+ White and Asian Students Challenged By Equal Protection Project
Short version: White and Asian (non-Pacific Islander) students cannot apply for the Meares scholarship unless they are “LGBTQI+”. So your straight White or Asian student whose “gender identity” aligns with their biological sex cannot apply.
The Equal Protection Project (EPP) (EqualProtect.org) of the Legal Insurrection Foundation has challenged numerous racially discriminatory programs done in the name of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This discrimination comes in various ways, but the overarching theme is to exclude or diminish some people and promote others, based on race, color, or ethnicity. In just our first 10 months of operation, we have had a huge impact.
In the latest, we have filed a Civil Rights Complaint against Southern Illinois University School of Medicine for a scholarship program that discriminates based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Short version: White and Asian (non-Pacific Islander) students cannot apply for the Meares scholarship unless they are “LGBTQI+”. So your straight white and Asian student whose “gender identity” aligns with their biological sex (“cisgender” in the gender studies jargon) cannot apply.
From the Complaint:
We bring this civil rights complaint against the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (“SIU School of Medicine”), a public institution, for offering and promoting a race- and sexual orientation/gender identity-based scholarship that limits eligibility to students who are “Black or African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native Americans (American Indian, Native Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native) or Students who identify as LGBTQI+.” 2 White and non-Pacific Islander Asians students who are heterosexual and whose gender identity aligns with their biological sex (so-called “cisgender”) are excluded from eligibility.
As this scholarship discriminates based on race and sexual orientation/gender identity, it violates Titles VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VI”) and its implementing regulations3 as well as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), and its implementing regulations.4 And, because SIU School of Medicine is a public institution, the discriminatory scholarship also violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
According to the SIU School of Medicine website, the Tracey Meares Representation Matters Scholarship (“Meares Scholarship”) is a scholarship offered through the medical school’s Institute of Plastic Surgery to promote “the value of diversity and inclusion within the SIU School of Medicine” and “to allow equitable opportunities” for students interested in plastic surgery.5
The scholarship aims “to promot[e] a diverse group of students, residents, and faculty” and “to give students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine an opportunity to experience firsthand what it would be like to be a plastic surgery resident at SIU School of Medicine.”12 All recipients of the scholarship “have opportunities to network with faculty and current residents, attend didactic sessions, and play an integrated role on the clinical team in the operating room and clinic arenas,” and one award winner receives a stipend of $1000 “to offset housing, travel, and incidental costs accrued during a 4-week rotation.”13 [image omitted]
Eligibility for the Meares Scholarship is restricted to 4th-year medical students enrolled in accredited medical schools who “[c]ome from a background traditionally underrepresented in medicine.”14 According to SIU School of Medicine, this means they must be “Black or African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native Americans (American Indian, Native Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native) or Students who identify as LGBTQI+.”15 For students from the enumerated racial categories – and only for them – sexual orientation and gender identity is irrelevant to their eligibility for the scholarship award.
To the extent that the requirement that Meares Scholarship recipients “be from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine”21 is intended to achieve racial balance, such an objective has been “repeatedly condemned as illegitimate” and “patently unconstitutional” by the Supreme Court….
And, irrespective of whether the Meares Scholarship furthers a compelling interest, it is not narrowly tailored. Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306, 334 (2003) (to be to be narrowly tailored, a race-conscious program must be based on “individualized consideration,” and race must be used in a “nonmechanical way”). Here, the race-based eligibility criterion is mechanically applied. If applicants are not “Black or African American, Hispanic/Latinx [or] Native Americans,” they are automatically ineligible for the scholarship unless they “identify as LGBTQI+.” To the extent that any individualized consideration exists, it only applies to distinguish between applicants who have first satisfied the threshold racial litmus test….
Similarly, the requirement that applicants who are white and Asian (non-Pacific Islander) must identify as “LGBTQI+” to qualify for the Meares Scholarship makes the program underinclusive since that criterion is arbitrary and excludes swaths of students who otherwise fall within those racial categories.
Fox News digital has covered the story:
The Southern Illinois University medical school is under fire after offering and promoting a race and sexual orientation-based scholarship, which some said is “discriminatory” and the “poster-child for what universities should not do.”
“The discrimination operates at multiple levels, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity,” William Jacobson, founder of EqualProtect.org and a Cornell University Law Professor, told Fox News Digital. “This discriminatory eligibility scheme is the poster-child for what universities should not do.” ….
Jacobson argued that the prerequisite of race and sexual identity violates students’ 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law.
“After the Supreme Court’s decision in Students For Fair Admission, it is clear that discriminating on the basis of race to achieve diversity is not lawful, and violates, among other things, students’ 14th Amendment right to equal protection of the laws,” Jacobson said.
“As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, “eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,” Jacobson said.
The Cornell Law Professor said that the SIU program is representative of a “broader problem” in medical schools across the U.S.
“As research by the Equal Protection Projects affiliate CriticalRace.org has documented, a majority of medical schools have injected Critical Race Theory, and its variants such as DEI, deep into their educational institutions,” Jacobson said.
“This worrisome trend damages students and patients, and is harmful to our societal goal of equal protection of the laws for all people without regard to race or ethnicity,” Jacobson said….
“SIU School of Medicine knew better than to run educational scholarships that exclude students based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” Jacobson said.
“SIU has vigorous non-discrimination rules. Why were they ignored here? Jacbson said. “Why did the SIU administrative apparatus devoted to non-discrimination not say anything? We call upon the President of SIU to commence a thorough investigation as to how such discrimination operated in the open contrary to federal and state law and university policy.”
At EqualProtect.org we go up against some of the most powerful and wealthiest entities in the nation who are practicing DEI discrimination. Your donations are critical to our ability to carry on this battle.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.