The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) plans to investigate the University of Utah for a doctoral program available only to black students, according to an OCR letter.
University of Michigan-Flint professor Mark Perry filed a complaint against the University of Utah regarding its African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative alleging the program, which only allows black students, violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national orientation, according to the July 26 OCR letter. The OCR confirmed they will investigate the university in a letter to Perry.
“The African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative creates a multidisciplinary, critical mass of African American scholars dedicated to the eradication of institutional and systemic racism and oppression by addressing the inequities endured by African American people,” the program description states. “We create thought leaders who tackle substantive issues central to Black life, history, and culture.”
The initiative is designed for “African American doctoral students” to create graduates who will “implement programs and policies that positively impact Black people in the United States,” the program website states. Scholarships are granted to the students in the program who “demonstrate a commitment to understanding Black life, history and culture in the United States.”
Nearly 65% of students at the University of Utah are white and less than 1% are black, according to Data USA. About 90% of Utah residents are white and less than 2% are black, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.
“There is widespread and systemic sexism and racism at US colleges and universities, and thousands of cases of illegal sex-based and race-based discrimination,” Perry told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Since 2019, I have filed nearly 600 federal civil rights complaints with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for more than 1,500 individual violations of Title IX (sex-based discrimination) and Title VI (race-based discrimination). Based on those complaints, the Office for Civil Rights has opened 265 federal civil rights investigations so far, and those investigations have resulted in 178 resolutions, mostly in my favor.”
The staff of the program are all black, Perry noted in his complaint. The “Black-only” program, he said, has just “Black faculty mentors” and directors.
The University of Utah and the OCR did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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