Equal Protection Project v. Indiana University Columbus

Case Particulars


U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

Date Filed

June 24, 2024

Docket No.


Case Status

OCR Complaint Filed

Case Overview

The Equal Protection Project (EPP) filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil rights (OCR) against Indiana University Columbus (IUC), a public institution which, in partnership with the African American Fund of Bartholomew County (AAFBC) offers, promotes, and administers the IUC African American Fund Scholarship (“IUC-AA Scholarship”), which provides students with $1,000 per year for four years to attend IUC. Eligibility for this scholarship is restricted to African American students. Students who are not African American are illegally excluded from this scholarship and discriminated against based on their race or color.


IUC violates Title VI by conditioning eligibility for the IUC-AA Scholarship on race. And because IUC is a public institution, its offering and administering of the scholarship also violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


Title VI prohibits intentional discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in any “program or activity” that receives federal financial assistance. The term “program or activity” means “all of the operations … of a college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of higher education.” As IUC receives federal funds, it is subject to Title VI.


EPP asks that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights open a formal investigation, impose such remedial relief as the law permits for the benefit of those who have been illegally excluded from this IUC scholarship based on discriminatory criteria, and ensure that all ongoing and future programming through IUC comports with the Constitution and federal civil rights laws.


The Equal Protection Project is the Complainant and the case is being evaluated by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.