The Center for Individual Rights today filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut challenging the University of Connecticut’s use of race in awarding scholarships. While the Supreme Court has said that race may be a “plus” factor in admissions, it has never said that race can be the basis for scholarship awards once a student has been admitted. UConn maintains two separate scholarships, one awarded on the basis of merit and a second awarded on the basis of race.
IR is representing Pamela Swanigan, a graduate student in English at UConn. The suit alleges that Swanigan was not allowed to compete for a highly prestigious, merit-based scholarship despite being the top applicant the year she applied. Instead, Swanigan was routed into an academically less prestigious Multicultural Scholars Award, which is designed to increase diversity. This happened solely because of her race — she is both African American and white.