Discrimination is supposed to be a thing of the past but one of the oldest universities in the United States is dealing with a controversial scholarship for whites-only. Columbia University is seeking legal action to change the terms of this “whites-only” scholarship earmarked for Iowa students. This trust, established 93 years ago, is the Lydia C. Roberts Graduate Fellowship. According to the terms of the trust, it can only be given to a person from Iowa who is “of the Caucasian race.”
When Roberts died in 1920, she left most of her $500,000-plus estate to Columbia in the form of a very restrictive fellowship. Students must be from Iowa, must be white, and must move back to Iowa for at least two years after graduating. In addition, students are not to study law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary surgery, or theology.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, the fund’s administrator, began legal action to change the terms of the trust. The university’s associate provost, Lucy Drotning, filed an affidavit last week in Manhattan’s State Supreme Court to support the legal action. Columbia has not awarded the fellowship since 1997 and had stopped awarding any financial gift that “violates anti-discrimination laws.” The trust’s current value is $840,000. The court papers are asking for the whites-only stipulation to be thrown out and suggests instead for it to say either residents of Iowa or students who graduated from an Iowa college.
Columbia University is New York’s oldest institution of higher learning and the fifth oldest in the nation. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, it was renamed Columbia in 1784. The Columbia School of Law, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Teachers College, and Barnard College are some of the schools established throughout the 19th century as part of Columbia University. The School of Journalism is the only IVY League journalism school was founded in 1912 by Joseph Pulitzer.
Written by: Cynthia Collins, Guardian Correspondent
Source: Google News