Lawsuit Challenges Arkansas Scholarship Program's Racial Exclusion as Violation of Fourteenth Amendment
Do No Harm (DNH), an organization that spotlights discriminatory practices in medical institutions, has filed a lawsuit (pdf) against the executive director of a division of the Arkansas Department of Health, alleging its implementation of a scholarship program discriminates against students based on skin color.
The suit alleges that Executive Director of the Arkansas Minority Health Commission (AMHC) Kenya Eddings has violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by employing a scholarship plan that denies anyone who is not African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, or Marshallese, while leaving out anyone who is white and Arab American.
“This scholarship clearly violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, said Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, Board Chair of DNH. “The Arkansas Minority Health Commission is illegally excluding and discriminating against certain medical students and denying them opportunities based on their race, color, or national origin—the scholarship should be declared unconstitutional and promptly enjoined.”
The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment made stating that the AMHC’s Minority Healthcare Workforce Diversity Scholarship violates the Fourteenth Amendment, a preliminary injunction prohibiting the defendant from using a race-based selection process, a preliminary injunction granting preliminary injunction during the time of the case, and a temporary restraining order preventing the defendant from dispersing scholarship awards until the case is resolved.
According to the lawsuit, because The Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires “racial classifications to satisfy strict scrutiny,” the scholarship’s racial exclusion “obviously fails.”
“The scholarship should be declared unconstitutional and promptly enjoined,” the lawsuit states.
DNH filed the lawsuit on the behalf of a pre-nursing student and DNH member the lawsuit names “Member A” who was excluded from the scholarship program because she is white.
“Member A is ready and able to apply to the scholarship for the next cycle if Defendant stops discriminating against white applicants,” the lawsuit states.
According to Goldfarb, when medical schools and scholarship programs prioritize these diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, they forfeit the opportunity to admit qualified students—whether they be black or white—while opening the door to several constitutional and ethical violations.
Goldfarb told The Epoch Times that the premise behind the discriminatory practice of excluding white applicants is the idea that blacks are underrepresented in medicine, so there has been a movement to make medical schools more diverse at the sacrifice of those who are qualified, whether they be black or white.
“So, what’s required to improve the situation of minority students and give them a chance to get into medical schools is this move to treat them differently than everybody else,” Goldfarb said. “What’s the rationale?”
There’s been no study, Goldfarb said, to show that increasing diversity in medical institutions improves health outcomes.
While the call for diversity in these medical institutions is applauded, Goldfarb said no one asks the essential question: “What is this going to accomplish?”
“What is this going to do to improve a better health outcome,” Goldfarb asked. “If it doesn’t improve health outcomes, then it’s all just political theater and virtue signaling, and that’s my big concern: that it’s not only not going to improve anyone’s health outcomes, but also if we keep recruiting individuals who are not up for the job, they’re going to decrease the quality of health care.”
When reached for comment, The Arkansas Department of Health Minority Health Commission told The Epoch Times it is reviewing the lawsuit and does not comment on pending litigation.