North Carolina city to alter scholarship to remove preference for Black applicants as part of legal settlement

FIRST ON FOX: The City of Asheville, North Carolina, will alter controversial scholarships as part of a lawsuit designed to challenge provisions directing money toward Black individuals.

Fox News Digital previously reported on the scholarships, which were intended for Black educators and students. The settlement with the nonprofit Judicial Watch removes racial language and instead contains a preference for first-generation college students.

The settlement is expected to be approved Tuesday evening by the City Council.

Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
(iStock)

“Our clients, a group of Asheville residents, including high school students, courageously challenged this blatantly discriminatory and illegal scholarship program in federal court,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement provided to Fox News Digital.

WATCHDOG SUES NORTH CAROLINA TOWN OVER SCHOLARSHIP INTENDED FOR BLACK STUDENTS

“Thankfully, the City of Asheville did the right thing in quickly ending these indefensible race-based scholarship programs,” he added.

“This federal lawsuit and the resulting remarkable settlement should serve as a wakeup call to those activists and allied politicians pushing the extremist leftist agenda to segregate and discriminate based on race.” 

University students sitting in class.

University students sitting in class.
(istock)

In a statement provided to Fox News Digital, City Attorney Brad Branham said: “The parties have reached a settlement on this matter, but have not yet finalized the documentation.  The City, therefore, will defer further comment until the settlement has been completed.”

WNC Citizens for Equality Inc., which also filed the suit, had claimed that at least three of its members had said they would apply for the city’s scholarship if not for their race.

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The city voted in April to donate nearly $1 million to two nonprofits – Asheville City Schools Foundation (ACSF) and CoThinkk – as part of a settlement for a class action lawsuit involving utility bills. According to the city, those two organizations were chosen for their efforts in advancing racial equity.

Parents protest against critical race theory being taught at Scottsdale Unified School District before a digital school board meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 24, 2021.

Parents protest against critical race theory being taught at Scottsdale Unified School District before a digital school board meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 24, 2021.
(Reuters)

On its website, ACSF described two scholarships. “We thank the city for entrusting us with this generous donation which will be used for the creation of two scholarships,” it read. 

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“One will be established as a scholarship fund for a cohort of Black educators and staff of Asheville City Schools who are pursuing their next level of education and/or certification and another scholarship will be awarded in perpetuity to Black high school students within Asheville City Schools, with special consideration given for students pursuing a career in education.”

The city, ACSF, and CoThinkk did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.