The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW Madison) was hit Monday with a civil rights complaint over a fellowship program that allegedly discriminates based on race.
Applicants for the university’s Creando Comunidad: Community Engaged Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Fellows program must be a “member of a historically underrepresented racial or ethnic group or community,” according to the university’s website.
The complaint, filed by the Equal Protection Project (EPP), alleges the program violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“The BIPOC Fellows program at UW-Madison discriminates on the basis of race and ethnicity,” Cornell Law School professor and EPP founder William A. Jacobson said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Such blatant discrimination always has been unlawful, but any doubt was resolved by the Supreme Court recently in its affirmative action ruling. A goal of ‘diversity’ no longer can be used as an excuse to racially discriminate.”
The program exists to “center and empower the strengths of BIPOC undergraduate students partaking in critical service work,” according to the website. Participants each receive a $500 scholarship and must attend seven 90-minute meetings.
Participants also gain “opportunities for community building, collaboration, support, and personal/professional development,” according to the website.
“[Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] at U. Wisconsin has been in sharp focus lately, and a matter of dispute. The discriminatory BIPOC Fellows program reflects how core university and constitutional principles of equality have been damaged by DEI,” Jacobson said. “It’s time for UW-Madison to right this wrong, and to repurpose and rename the BIPOC Fellows program so that it is open and welcoming to all students regardless of race or ethnicity.”
EPP previously filed similar complaints against allegedly discriminatory programs at schools like the University of North Dakota, the State University of New York at Buffalo and Western Kentucky University.
Attorney Daniel Suhr, backed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, sued the state bar in December over a diversity clerkship program allegedly limited to students who identify as LGBT or are minorities.
UW-Madison did not immediately respond to a request for comment.