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The Whites Only Scholarship was founded in 2004 by Jason Mattera, a Hispanic Roger Williams University student and member of the school Republican Party. The scholarship was a proposal to parody and highlight what Mattera perceives as inequity and unfairness of racial preferences at his school and other educational institutions in America.
Mattera argues that he supports private organizations such as the Hispanic College Fund, The United Negro College Fund, and other groups that are privately funded and ethnically-based that award scholarships to members of their own communities, a position he claims is fully in line with freedom of association. However, he is opposed to federally subsidized institutions creating two classes of persons by imposing different standards on them. Either such universities should compile race-based scholarships for all students, or they should award scholarships on the basis of merit alone, he writes.
Roger Williams University chapter of the College Republicans (RWUCR) was condemned by Rhode Island's Republican Party and were no longer allowed to use a capital "R" in their name. The group still used the "R" in defiance. The student who won the scholarship donated the prize money to those affected by the 2003 Station Nightclub Fire.
A similar scholarship was offered two months later at the University of Missouri by Colin Kerr, a sophomore who had just retired from running the campus' conservative political magazine. While Kerr consulted with Mattera before the release of the scholarship, he maintains it was independent project planned months before the release of scholarship at Roger Williams. Under the auspices of a group called the Kerr-Otis Partnership for Socio-Economic Scholarships (KOPSES), Kerr echoed similar arguments to that of Mattera, though his scholarship eligibility requirement of 1/8 European-American descent mirrored that of the University of Missouri-Columbia's criteria for minority status.
Furthermore, before the announcement of the scholarship Kerr brokered a deal between both the leaders of the liberal and conservative campus publications to remain neutral in their coverage. The essay contest asked students to describe "how their European-American heritage affected their view of race-based scholarships." An Asian-American student, whose essay detailed a history of discrimination by his Asian relatives for being partially Caucasian, was awarded the scholarship.
Kerr's KOPSES organization eventually received wide multi-party support and later morphed into the American-Coalition for Socio-Economic Scholarships (ACSES), a short-lived national awareness group that lasted for over a year until its original funding ran short of its operating costs.
The trend in more sophisticated race-based scholarship protests continued when a white scholarship was offered at Boston University, known as the Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship. Similar to the KOPSES scholarship, the CARS scholarship required applicants to have at least 1/4 Caucasian heritage and although it required a photograph, did not specify that the photograph would be used as proof of race (since partially Caucasian applicants can apply).
1994 The first Court Ordered White Only Scholarships was created at Historically Black Colleges in Alabama
The Knight litigation commenced on January 15, 1981, when John F. Knight, Jr., and a class of other alumni, students, and faculty members of Alabama State University (ASU) filed suit in the Middle District of Alabama to attack alleged vestiges of segregation in public higher education. Knight v. Alabama, 900 F. Supp. 272, .280 (N.D. Ala. 1995) ("Knight II"). The "other-race" scholarships created at ASU pursuant to the Court's 1995 Decree in Knight II violate their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, § 1983, and § 2000d.
In Tompkins v. Alabama State University, 97-M-1482-S (N.D. Ala. 1998). lead plaintiff Jessie Tompkins filed this original action Pro Se, he was influence by Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932 (5th Cir. 1996), Hopwood was the first successful legal challenge to a university's affirmative action policy in student admissions since Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978).The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama before Myron Herbert Thompson. Tompkins alleged that he was denied equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the rights guaranteed them by 42 U. S. C. Sections 2000d, 1981 and 1983 of the Civil Rights Act to participate in ASU’s All-White Scholarship Program and to eliminate the race requirements. 40% of Alabama State University academic grants went to whites.
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