University mentorship program only open to select racial minorities

A mentorship program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is open only to Black, Latino, and Native American students.

Professor and American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry says the program violates Title VI.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is hosting a mentorship program exclusively for students of color.

The Milliman Mentorship Program webpage explains that it is “an actuarial mentorship program for students of underrepresented minorities (Black, Latino, Native American) at the University of Illinois” and “currently targeted towards students of color, early in their college career, who may be interested in a STEM-oriented career.”

Benefits of the program include financial support for fees and study materials related to the SOA exam and mentorship by a Milliman company professional.

Currently, students can apply through January 24, 2022. 

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Mark Perry, economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told Campus Reform that the program is “definitely a Title VI violation.” 

“According to Title VI, it is illegal for universities to treat students differently on the basis of skin color, and it is illegal to offer racially exclusionary and racially discriminatory programs,” Perry said. “By restricting this mentorship program to Black, Latino, Native American students, while illegally excluding White and Asian students on the basis of race and color, the University is in violation of Title VI.”

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Perry also filed a complaint with the Chicago Office for Civil Rights. 

“As a recipient of federal funds, the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (University) is legally required to enforce Title VI’s prohibition of discrimination on the basis of skin color and race,” he wrote in the complaint. “According to Title VI, a recipient’s programs and activities must be open to all students, regardless of skin color and race.”

Part of Title VI states that recipients are “prohibited from treating an individual differently from others [on the basis of race or color] in determining whether he or she satisfies any admission, enrollment, quota, eligibility, membership or other requirement or condition.”

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter @katesrichardson.