UNC-Chapel Hill deletes fellowship criteria excluding White people after civil rights complaint

UNC-Chapel Hill deletes fellowship criteria excluding White people after civil rights complaint

Posted For: Willie Wonka 

By Nikolas Lanum

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has deleted criteria for a nutrition fellowship program, for which only applicants who were Black, indigenous or people of color were eligible, following a civil rights complaint.

The Global Food Research Program webpage for the university, under the criteria section, initially said that students who wish to apply must be of “Racial/ethnic background of Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC) that is historically marginalized in academia and the field of nutrition in the United States.”

“Currently, the field of nutrition is overwhelmingly comprised of white researchers. Increased BIPOC representation in food policy research is critical for developing effective, equitable, comprehensive, and culturally competent policies that address nutrition-related health disparities,” the application initially read, according to The Wayback Machine.

On Dec. 19, Do No Harm senior fellow and University of Michigan Professor Mark Perry sent a federal civil rights complaint to the Washington, D.C., Office for Civil Rights for “illegal discrimination on the basis of race, color, and/or national origin in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

“In violation of Title VI, non-BIPOC students are illegally excluded from the FERN program, illegally denied the benefits of this program, and illegally discriminated against on the basis of their race, color and national origin,” Perry wrote.

The webpage has since scrubbed such criteria and is now open to undergraduate students with a second- or third-year academic standing and an expressed interest in food and nutrition, who are pursuing advanced degrees or credentials in public health and nutrition, in an update first spotted by The Daily Caller.

UNC Chapel Hill’s media relations manager Pace Sagester told Fox News Digital that the criteria did not reflect the school’s commitment to inclusion.

“A webpage for the Fellowship for Exploring Research in Nutrition (FERN) provided eligibility criteria which did not accurately reflect Carolina’s commitment to inclusion,” Sagester said. “The eligibility criteria on the webpage have been corrected. Carolina remains committed to an inclusive and equitable community for all. A diverse student body is vital to fostering academic excellence, helping to broaden understanding among people of all backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, spurring innovation and preparing engaged citizens and future leaders.”

Similar federal complaints have been filed in the past.

In November, Perry filed a complaint against 12 Oklahoma colleges and claimed that the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program requires that applicants identify as African America, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

Last May, Parents Defending Education filed a complaint after Massachusetts’ Wellesley Public Schools allegedly excluded White students from a healing space designated for other racial and ethnic groups.

In late October, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments from Students for Fair Admissions against UNC Chapel Hill and Harvard University. The nonprofit made a similar argument to Perry, asserting that the schools violated the Civil Right Act by discriminating against applicants on the basis of their race.

The nonprofit further argued that Asian Americans suffer from the schools’ practices and that White applicants are also harmed by the policies of UNC. The court is looking to see whether UNC acted properly by rejecting a “race-neutral “approach to admissions, and whether Harvard violated Title VI. Students for Fair Admissions sued both universities as part of separate cases.

A decision is expected in 2023 and will determine the fate of affirmative action, including whether universities will be allowed to use race as a factor in admissions processes.



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