In response to a federal civil rights complaint against the University of Washington’s (UW) Department of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is investigating the school for illegal racial discrimination.
As noted in the complaint, UW operates two racially discriminatory programs that restrict eligibility based on race, color, and national origin. Both programs are described by the University as “a funded program designed to give students with diverse backgrounds a chance to experience the training that the University of Washington Department of Medicine has to offer.”
- The Visiting Scholars Program: Eligibility is restricted to “applicants who demonstrate academic excellence and belong to groups that are recognized as historically underrepresented in the health and science professions, including Black/African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, and Pacific Islander.”
- Eligibility for the Visiting Resident Scholars Program is restricted to “applicants who demonstrate academic excellence and belong to groups that are recognized as historically underrepresented in the health and science professions including Black/African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, and Pacific Islander.”
In violation of Title VI, medical students who are not members of the five racial/ethnic groups listed in the eligibility criteria (e.g., whites, Asians, and Middle Eastern/North Africans) are excluded from the Program and discriminated against on the basis of their race, color, or national origin.
Do No Harm anticipates the OCR’s investigation will result in making these scholar opportunities available to all applicants, bringing the University of Washington Department of Medicine into compliance with federal law that prohibits racial discrimination.
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