Asheville, North Carolina, is changing two scholarships for students and educators to prioritize first-generation college students and is removing language that gives preference to African Americans, ABC News 13 reports.
On Tuesday, the Asheville City Council voted unanimously to alter the donation-scholarship agreement between the Asheville City Schools Foundation and the city. The scholarships, which total around $500,00, will now consider first-generation college students as its new mission, a local defeat for affirmative action policies.
The alteration is a response to a federal lawsuit filed by WNC Citizens for Equality Inc. Carl Mumpower, Ph.D. is president of the entity.
Back in October, the group filed a lawsuit claiming that the City of Asheville Scholarship was “racially discriminatory” because it awarded funds to Black high school students within Asheville City Schools in perpetuity, with special consideration given to students pursuing careers in education.
The conservative group views the scholarship offerings as “reverse racism” because only African Americans were recipients.
“We recognized the wrong and made an attempt to address it,” Mumpower said. “Racism is discrimination on the basis of color, and we found it ironic that the city that so frequently accuses other people of racism would be doing precisely that, with a scholarship that’s devoted only to Black students and teachers.”
By removing the racial preference in the scholarship, Mumpower believes that a wrong was finally made right by the city.
“It’s a quiet, easy victory for what’s right,” he added. “Anytime you challenge bad behavior and are successful and it has a ripple effect and makes other people reconsider, that’s a good thing. But we also want the city to be more careful going forward.”