A prominent professor has filed a complaint with the Atlanta Office for Civil Rights, alleging that eligibility requirements for Florida State’s Leslie N. Wilson-Delores Auzenne Assistantship violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
Mark Perry, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Michigan-Flint and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), filed the complaint on Tuesday. In it, he asserts that the university’s “own words” provide “irrefutable evidence” of Title VI violations.
Specifically, the professor implores the Atlanta Office for Civil Rights to investigate Florida State “for race-based discrimination in violation of Title VI’s prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.”
According to documents obtained by Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist and prominent ally of Governor Ron DeSantis, the university’s description of the Leslie N. Wilson-Delores Auzenne Assistantship for graduate students makes clear that white applicants are excluded from consideration for the award:
“Leslie N. Wilson-Delores Auzenne Assistantships are available for minority students pursuing a graduate degree program full-time (enrolled for a minimum of nine hours (9) per semester). The assistantship carries a $5,000 stipend, plus tuition waivers for the academic year. Holders of this award are assigned either a teaching or research assistantship appointment by their department.”
Specifically, “applicants for the award must be minority students (African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, and Native-American).”
However, this seems inconsistent with the university’s public criteria for applicants as of February 7, 2023, which does not explicitly bar white students from consideration. Florida State University’s official website currently reads:
“The Leslie N. Wilson-Delores Auzenne Assistantship is available for all new or currently enrolled graduate students. Preference may be given (to) applicants who are historically underrepresented.”
While the reason for this discrepancy is unknown, it is possible the change was made in response to Rufo’s investigation.
Perry’s complaint seems to be the first official action taken against Florida State University following Rufo’s publication of a report in City Journal that went viral on social media. In it, Rufo alleges that “left-wing DEI bureaucracy has captured Florida State University and installed radical politics as the governing value.” The Collegian covered this in detail on Monday.
Just hours before Perry’s complaint was filed, Rufo appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to discuss his investigation into Florida State.
“It’s time to stop just doing white papers, talking to each other. It’s time to take action,” Rufo said.
Given the content of his complaint to the Atlanta Office for Civil Rights, Professor Mark Perry seems to be heeding this call.