Why are so many medical schools violating civil rights? That’s the question Do No Harm is asking in five complaints filed on Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. These schools offer scholarships that are eligible to people of certain races, which is incompatible with the Constitution and federal law.
The medical schools in question are affiliated with the University of Florida, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Utah, and the University of Minnesota, as well as the Medical College of Wisconsin. While more than 140 medical schools and institutions nationwide offer questionable scholarships, these five medical schools are particularly noteworthy.
Consider the scholarship at the University of Florida College of Medicine. It is available to members of certain “racial and ethnic populations.” They spell out what that means – people who are “African Americans and/or Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, Naive Hawaiian, Hispanic/Latinx, and Pacific Islander.” The application also asks for an applicant photograph!
Similar problems exist in the other four medical schools’ scholarships, all of which are restricted to people of specific skin colors or backgrounds. As our complaints note, the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause prohibits racial preferences, as does the 1964 Civil Rights Act for universities that receive federal funds.
We look forward to seeing how the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and these medical schools respond to our complaints and end unnecessary and illegal discrimination. And we hope this starts a trend of medical schools abandoning racial discrimination in favor of equal treatment for all.
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