George Floyd scholarship accused of discriminating against non-Black students in federal complaint

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The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship offered at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is being accused of violating the Civil Rights Act, according to a federal complaint.

The Legal Insurrection Foundation filed the legal complaint Monday with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. The conservative nonprofit says its mission is devoted to advancing free expression and academic freedom on campuses.

The foundation claims the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship is violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.”

To be eligible for the scholarship in question, the applicant must “be a student who is Black or African American, that is, a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa,” according to the university.

Students who do not meet the prerequisite racial category are automatically ineligible for the scholarship.

“Discrimination against white applicants is just as unlawful as discrimination against black or other non-white applicants,” complaint writers, civil rights attorney Ameer Benno and Cornell University law professor William Jacobson, said.

“Regardless of NCU’s reasons for sponsoring and promoting the GFMS [scholarship], it is violating Title VI by doing so.”

North Central University did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment.

The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship was created in 2020 “to contribute toward the educational promise of aspiring young black American leaders,” according to a university news release.

The scholarship is still accepting applications for the 2024-25 academic school year, and the recipient will be selected by June.

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