Whites-Only Scholarship? Columbia University Lydia C. Roberts Graduate Fellowship Could Be Changed (VIDEO)

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(Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)Students walk across the campus of Columbia University in New York, October 5, 2009.

A "whites-only scholarship" has been offered by a prestigious and well-respected New York City university for nearly 100 years. However, according to reports out this week, officials at the education establishment are now debating whether to amend the scholarship.

The scholarship has been part of the tradition of Columbia University for nearly a century, however, it has recently come under fire with critics claiming that it is racially provocative.

However, amending the scholarship would take quite an effort, and an application would have to be made to court for an order to be made authorizing the proposed changes.

Columbia University's Lydia C. Roberts Graduate Fellowship notes that potential recipients must be white, from Iowa, not studying law, and plan to return to their native home state after study.

The controversial scholarship has a clause stating: "The rule is so discriminatory that it likely violates the US Constitution, according to Manhattan Supreme Court papers filed Monday by the fund's trustees in an effort to get the restrictions lifted so the money can be awarded freely … Roberts was heir to her late husband's medical-patent company. She left Columbia the bulk of her $509,000 estate when she died in 1920."

The scholarship fund is believed to have $800,000 in it, but a court motion has now been filed to amend the conditions of the scholarship's grant, according to the New York Post.

This is not the first time that the scholarship has come under attack; in 1949 the NAACP attempted to force through changes to the scholarship's conditions. However, that attempt failed after the then-provost Grayson L. Kirk said, "We do not feel we are justified in depriving some of our students of the benefits of restricted grants simply because they are not available to everyone."

Here is a previous video news report discussing whites-only scholarships: