$250 scholarship for whites is a protest against race-based scholarships, sponsors say
The Boston University chapter of the College Republicans has stirred up controversy this month by offering a scholarship that requires applicants to be at least 25 percent white.
The Caucasian Achievement and Recognition scholarship is for $250 and asks applicants to write an essay about what being Caucasian-American today means to them. The chapter president, Joe Mroszczyk, told MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson on Nov. 21 that the scholarship is a means of protest against the giving of race-based scholarships of any kind.
“I mean, I think racism can exist in all sorts of forms. I think there’s a double standard here, where a scholarship is given out to a Hispanic or an African-American, that seems to be OK,” Mroszczyk said. “But if we give one out to white folks, then that seems to be racism. We’re trying to combat that and try to raise the awareness of racial preferences.”
Mroszczyk insisted that he does not believe that giving scholarships restricted to white students is correct, but that financial aid targeted at minorities is not the best way to increase diversity on college campuses.
“Race is always a hard issue,” said Laura Owens, a junior English major. “On that one hand, I think this scholarship is kind of immature and that they are just trying to be funny, but on the other, it is unfortunate that being white is painted as a negative.”
Sean Meyers, a senior psychology major, said that white racial identity is the central topic of discussion in his class, Whiteness Studies, which is offered through the sociology department.
“We actually wrote a paper on what being white today means in my class,” he said. “We spend a lot of time discussing being white in relation to other minorities. This scholarship is an effective way of protest. I mean, why are white people today being held accountable for things that happened hundreds of years ago?”
CU has come under fire in recent years for a lack of diversity. Of the 27,118 students that were enrolled at the university in the spring 2006 semester, 20,759 were white, 1,639 were Asian, 1,566 Hispanic, 913 were foreign born, 419 were black and 218 were American Indian; 1,604 did not claim a race or ethnicity.
CU has set up numerous programs to combat the lack of campus diversity and increase the number of minority students such as the Minority Arts and Sciences Program and the Multicultural Engineering Program, which are designed to recruit and assist underrepresented students in the arts and sciences and engineering colleges.
The university also offers a handful of memorial scholarships with race or ethnicity requirements, including the Peter G. and Helen P. Koclanes scholarship for students who can claim at least 25 percent Greek heritage and the Mike and Bobbie Resmo Opportunity scholarship for students with Mexican or Latin heritage who immigrated to the United States.