University slapped with civil rights lawsuit over racially ‘discriminatory’ scholarships

Western Kentucky University (WKU) has been hit with a federal civil rights complaint over a scholarship program deemed to be racially discriminatory. 

The Equal Protection Project (EPP) of the Legal Insurrection Foundation with a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights over the weekend. 

In its complaint, the EPP says that two WKU scholarships – the WKU Athletics Minority Fellowship (AMF) and the WKU Distinguished Minority Fellowship (DMF) – “are only available to non-white students.” 

The EPP says WKU’s promotion of these scholarships violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as well as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

The non-profit points to the recent Supreme Court ruling in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harv. Coll., which determined that “eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”

“The guarantee of equal protection cannot mean one thing when applied to one individual and something else when applied to a person of another color,” the Supreme Court ruled. 


Per WKU, the AMF provides “at least four undergraduate scholarships in the 2023-2024 school year for students interested in careers focusing in collegiate athletics.” 

The aim is to “enhance the success of students of color – excluding student-athletes on athletic scholarships – within the athletic department’s administrative areas.” Those selected receive a $1,000 scholarship per semester. 

To qualify, applicants must “identify as an underrepresented ethnic minority,” meaning Black, Asian, Hispanic or Native American. 

The DMF scholarship provides “[u]p to nine hours of resident face-to-face tuition costs for the completion of a primary graduate degree,” plus a stipend of $15,000 per academic year. 

Eligible students must have a “minority status,” meaning “African American, Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, two or races or Hispanic/Latino.” 

“WKU should know better to run education and career programs that exclude students based on race. Such blatant discrimination always has been unlawful, but any doubt was resolved by the Supreme Court recently in its affirmative action ruling,” EPP founder William A. Jacobson said. “A goal of ‘diversity’ no longer can be used as an excuse to discriminate.” 

Fox News Digital has reached out to WKU for comment. 

The EPP filed a similar complaint against the University of Nebraska-Lincoln last month over a race-exclusive residency program for film students.