Oklahoma Colleges Accused of Civil Rights Violation

A civil rights complaint filed recently accuses 12 Oklahoma colleges of illegally discriminating against students based on race and national origin. The complaint was filed by Mark Perry, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan and senior fellow with Do No Harm, a conservative group of medical professionals, the Oklahoma City Sentinel reported.

The lawsuit alleges that the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, a program offered at the colleges and focused on increasing the number of underrepresented students earning degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM fields, discriminates against students based on race and national origin.

The consortium of colleges includes Cameron University, East Central University, Langston University, Northeastern State University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa.

Do No Harm argues that the requirement that applicants to the program “must identify as an underrepresented minority” and that it is limited to African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders, is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Perry said the program allows students who don’t belong to those specific groups to be “illegally discriminated against and excluded from the OK-LSAMP program on the basis of their race, color, and national origin.”

The state of Oklahoma filed a brief in the case, siding with the petitioners, according to the Oklahoma City Sentinel.

“Whether campus diversity is a compelling interest that justifies open racial discrimination has been dubious from the start,” the state’s brief stated.

Perry has made similar complaints against other institutions, including last year when he filed a complaint about a study at the University of Texas at Austin designed to increase awareness of racism and reduce bias.

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