The medical school at Ole Miss, located in Jackson at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for a discriminatory scholarship.
The Underrepresented in Medicine Student Clerkship and Externship Support: Dr. Godfrey Arnold Scholarship is offered through the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and provides at $1,500 per month stipend to awardees. However, only “members of underrepresented in medicine groups as defined by the AAMC” are invited to apply.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) definition of “underrepresented in medicine” is noted on its website:
Before June 26, 2003, the AAMC used the term “underrepresented minority (URM),” which consisted of Blacks, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans (that is, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians), and mainland Puerto Ricans. The AAMC remains committed to ensuring access to medical education and medicine-related careers for individuals from these four historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.
An email inquiry to the education administrator for this scholarship confirmed that the program is using the 2003 AAMC definition as a guideline for who is invited to apply. This means that individuals who are not members of one of the four racial/ethnic categories described above are not invited to apply for the Arnold Scholarship. This is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race.
In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision banning race-based considerations in college admissions, and state legislative efforts to remove DEI from higher education, we call on the University of Mississippi School of Medicine – and all academic medical institutions – to abandon discriminatory practices and bring themselves into compliance with federal law.
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