Scholarship

Asheville agrees to remove racial preference from scholarships after facing lawsuit | State

Asheville agrees to remove racial preference from scholarships after facing lawsuit | State
Written by Publishing Team

(Center Square) — The city of Asheville has agreed to remove references to race in city-funded scholarships after facing a lawsuit from a group of residents.

The scholarships are designated by the Asheville City Schools Foundation for black high school students and black teachers. A group of residents sued the corporation and the city, alleging discrimination against non-black residents.

“Our clients, a group of Asheville residents, including high school students, bravely defied the discriminatory and blatantly illegal scholarship program in federal court,” said attorneys from Judicial Watch, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the residents.

The Asheville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to resolve the lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the scholarship program. Scholarship requirements have been modified.

One of the scholarships was to be awarded to black students in Asheville schools pursuing a degree in education. The second scholarship gave preference to teachers of color looking to advance their careers.

The scholarships, created in May, were part of Asheville’s larger initiative to pay reparations to black residents. Asheville donated nearly $1 million to the foundation and another nonprofit, CoThinkk, in April as part of a settlement in a class-action lawsuit related to capital charges on facilities. CoThinkk was directed to use its grant to find “structural change” to address racial equality.

However, members of WNC Citizens for Equality said their children could not apply for the scholarship due to the criteria. Lawyers filed the lawsuit in October.

City officials agreed to remove the racial criteria for the scholarship. Both scholarships will now be offered to first-generation college students.

“Fortunately, the City of Asheville did the right thing in quickly ending its untenable race-based scholarship programs,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “This federal lawsuit and the remarkable settlement resulting from it should serve as a wake-up call for those activists and allied politicians who are pushing the far-left agenda of segregation and racial discrimination.”

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