Ga. Minority Scholarship Dropped Because of Lawsuits
ATHENS, Ga. — The University of Georgia has stopped awarding a prominent minority scholarship because of lawsuits targeting the school’s use of race in admissions policy. University officials say the Holmes-Hunter Scholarship, which gives $1,500 a year to a Black student with strong academic and leadership potential, was not awarded for 1999-2000. They said it likely will not be awarded until several reverse-discrimination lawsuits against the university are decided. “We’re kind of stuck in a quandary because we can’t give out scholarships based on race,” says Victor Wilson, associate vice president for student affairs. “People are looking more closely at the university now.” The scholarship is named for Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who integrated the university in 1961. It has been awarded since 1992. A federal judge is considering two lawsuits filed by three White women who were denied admission to the university. In May, an Atlanta attorney filed two more reverse-discrimination lawsuits. One attacks admissions and race-based scholarships at the university’s law school. The other names 14 plaintiffs complaining of race discrimination in university admissions and scholarship programs (see Black Issues, March 2).University President Dr. Michael F. Adams has vowed to continue considering race in applications. It is used as a small factor for applicants whose grades and test scores are not high enough to merit automatic admission. University officials say the Holmes-Hunter scholarship is the only race-based award on hold. The university has not stopped awarding lower-profile race-based scholarships, says Christopher Dendy, a development officer with the university’s student affairs department. For now, the Holmes-Hunter money likely will be spent for related programs like the Rite of Sankofa, a graduation ceremony for minority students, Wilson says.
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