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A conservative nonprofit behind dozens of civil rights complaints against race-based education policies around the country is now zeroing in on at Minnesota State University Moorhead, alleging that five of the university's scholarships are discriminatory.

The Equal Protection Project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation on Tuesday filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights in Chicago, asking that it investigate Minnesota State University Moorhead and "impose whatever remedial relief is necessary to hold it accountable for that unlawful conduct."

The Rhode Island-based nonprofit was emboldened by last year's landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that banned using race as a factor in college admissions and cited the high court's decision in its complaint.

William Jacobson, a Cornell University clinical law professor who leads the nonprofit, wrote in his complaint that five scholarships offered by Minnesota State Moorhead "restrict eligibility to students based on race, color and national origin." That's in violation, he said, of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

To date, Jacobson's organization has filed more than 25 similar complaints with the Department of Education. He said in a statement Tuesday that more than half of the complaints have been resolved by the universities without the need for action from the government. A formal investigation has been opened into one complaint regarding the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he said.

"The eligibility requirements for these scholarships are openly racially discriminatory. Regardless of the purpose of the discrimination, it is wrong and unlawful," Jacobson said in a statement.

Responding to the complaint, a university spokesperson said that it would "cooperate fully with the Office of Civil Rights if they chose to investigate this matter."

"At Minnesota State University Moorhead, we are committed to transforming the world by transforming lives, and ensuring all our students, no matter who they are, can achieve their educational goals," said Doug Anderson, a spokesperson for the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities.

A message was also left seeking comment from the U.S. Department of Education.

The scholarships at the center of the complaint are:

• The Access, Opportunity & Success Scholars Diversity Scholarship, available to new freshmen or new transfer students from an "underrepresented or underserved population," such as students who identify as African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino.

• The Earl, Violette and Louise Warner Diversity Scholarship, awarded to students of Mexican-American descent. The complaint said that preference is given to students who were either migrant sugar beet workers or who are descendants of a migrant sugar beet worker.

• The Joseph Thorman Hispanic Scholarship, awarded to full-time, Hispanic students from South Texas.

• The MSUM Diversity Scholarship, which is available to students from an underrepresented or underserved population who identify as African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and/or Hispanic/Latino and are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.

• The ODI Diversity Scholarship, also available to full-time students from an underrepresented or underserved population who identify as African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and/or Hispanic/Latino and are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.

The scholarships are being offered during the 2024-25 academic year, but the application period for them closed in February. Jacobson alleged that the "number and scope of these discriminatory programs reflects a systemic discrimination problem" at the university and urged the Department of Education to "promptly open an investigation and take action."

Jacobson suggests imposing fines, initiating administrative proceedings to suspend of terminate federal financial assistance and referring the case to the Department of Justice for judicial proceedings.