Columbia University Seeks to Change Requirements of 'White Only' Fellowship

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Columbia University is seeking to change an outdated requirement for one of its scholarships, which requires that its recipients be white people born in Iowa.

The school has asked a judge to change requirements of the Lydia C. Roberts graduate and traveling fellowships. 

The school's associate provost, Lucy Drotning, filed the affidavit in Manhattan Supreme Court last week, saying the provisions are racist and outdated.

"Circumstances have so changed from the time when the Trust was established, that complying with the restrictions are impossible," the filing said.

It was set up in 1920, and offered a full year's tuition of $691.

Lydia C. Chamberlain set up the fund before she died, putting her $500,000 estate into it. She wanted only white women and men born in Iowa to be considered for it. It is now administered by JP Morgan Chase Bank.

Columbia hasn't awarded the fellowships since 1997, when it paid $22,000, which is less than half of the year's tuition. 

Sources: NY Daily News