Share “Columbia U. seeks to alter whites-only...”

Columbia U. seeks to alter whites-only bequest

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm •  Published: May 15, 2013
Advertisement

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University is seeking to change the terms of a 93-year-old trust earmarked for white students from Iowa.

The Lydia C. Roberts Graduate Fellowship stipulates that money be given only to "a person of the Caucasian race" from Iowa.

Roberts left Columbia most of her $509,000 estate when she died in 1920 and created the highly restrictive fellowship. It also stipulates that students must not study law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary surgery or theology. They also must move back to Iowa for a minimum of two years after graduating.

Lucy Drotning, the university's associate provost, filed an affidavit in Manhattan state Supreme Court last week in support of a legal action initiated by the fund's administrator, JPMorgan Chase Bank, seeking to change the terms of the trust. Columbia hasn't awarded the fellowship since 1997 — but the school said it's impossible to know when exactly Columbia stopped adhering to the race-related terms of the gift.

"Columbia long ago ceased awarding the fellowships in question and does not follow gift conditions that violate anti-discrimination laws," the university said in a statement Wednesday. "It should go without saying that a university rightly known for the great diversity of its student body is as offended as anyone by the requirements of these fellowships."

Continue reading this story on the...