March 20th, 2004, 06:25 PM
Whites-Only Scholarship Stirs R.I. College
By MICHAEL MELLO
Associated Press Writer
March 20, 2004, 7:53 AM EST
BRISTOL, R.I. -- On the sleepy coastal campus of Roger Williams University, a small liberal arts school unaccustomed to student activism, the College Republicans are reveling in the debate they've kicked up by offering a scholarship for whites only.
The $250 award -- which required an essay on "why you are proud of your white heritage" and a recent picture to "confirm whiteness" -- has invited the wrath of everyone from minority groups and school officials to the chairman of the Republican National Committee himself.
Jason Mattera, a junior who started the conservative campus group in his freshman year, said kindling debate over free speech and affirmative action was just what he wanted -- and he promises more.
"We did our job," said Mattera, 20, of Brooklyn, N.Y. "This is what college is all about, challenging the status quo."
They did such a good job that school President Roy Nirschel, who has clashed with the group before, cut short a trip to Vietnam last month to begin what he called "a healing process" -- including forming a commission on civil discourse.
The 35-member group first went toe-to-toe with university administration last year over a series of monthly newsletter articles accusing homosexuals of squelching free speech by pushing for hate-crimes legislation. The articles alleged that a well-known gay-rights group indoctrinates students into homosexual sex.
The administration froze the College Republicans' money for two days. Nirschel said in turn, he received threatening letters claiming he was suppressing the group.
Then another article critical of Kwanzaa, which celebrates the history and heritage of Africa, sparked a complaint by a multicultural student group.
Before the Student Senate had a chance to deal with that issue, the College Republicans came up with the whites-only scholarship.
The application for the $250 award required an essay on "why you are proud of your white heritage" and a recent picture to "confirm whiteness."
"Evidence of bleaching will disqualify applicants," read the application.
Mattera, who is of Puerto Rican descent, said the scholarship was a parody of minority scholarships. Mattera himself was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Hispanic College Fund, he said.
"Those who come from white (descent) are left to find scholarships on their own," Mattera said.
The whites-only scholarship generated national publicity, which angered university officials and many students who worried their school was being labeled as racist. Minorities make up less than 10 percent of the 3,400 full-time undergraduates.
Some minorities on campus, like Maria Ahmed, a 20-year-old junior from Providence, felt targeted.
"At first it was about the newspaper, just about every issue they were bashing some small minority group," said Ahmed, whose parents were born in Nigeria. "It's hard being a minority on campus, and it felt like (they) were directly talking about you."
The scholarship was criticized by the state Republican Party and Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee. In a Feb. 17 letter to Mattera, Gillespie said the scholarship conveys a "message of exclusion" that doesn't represent the party's values. He suspended the group's right to use the party's symbols.
Nirschel, who says he's eager to attract more minority students and faculty members, called the scholarship "repugnant" and convened a town meeting on campus he said attracted more than 500 people.
The meeting, he said, was the first of its kind in the university's history.
His commission on civil discourse includes faculty and student members and has already decided to organize a debate team and create a journal. "This has caused me to redouble our efforts to make the campus open," Nirschel said.
Mattera's cause has seen plenty of support, too.
Increased donations raised the scholarship, which was initially only supposed to be for $50, to $250. The American Civil Liberties Union backed the group's right to free speech after the Student Senate considered taking away its funding after the scholarship was awarded to Adam Noska, a 21-year-old junior from Weymouth, Mass. The Senate set aside the issue.
Some students just liked the idea of a whites-only scholarship.
"Nothing gets to me more than affirmative action," said Jamie Pattison, 19, a sophomore from Marblehead, Mass. "People want handouts."
Despite initial plans to make the scholarship annual, Mattera said it won't be offered next year.
"We'll continue to fight affirmative action ... but I think I made the point," he said
Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”
March 20th, 2004, 07:07 PM
Do people get in an uproar when there is a scholarship for blacks only.....or women only? No, only when it is for whites only. and to think, that all this was started by a hispanic student. Makes me want to shake his hand.
Personally, I feel that affirmative action has gone far overboard. I wanted to go to a particual graduate school at one time, but couldn't because I was male and white. A 4.0 grade point average would not have been good enough to get in (I didn't have a 4.0 either) Because of affirmative action, only minorities were to be allowed of over a 2.5 grade point average. But could I hollar discrimination....not on your life, I was white and male.
\"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!\"
March 21st, 2004, 01:36 AM
The whole concept of affirmative action is ridiculous. "We're going to give certain minorities a better chance to get in to a school than everyone else because they are minorities. It's not racism, it's promoting diversity!" Total BS. I hope this issue will cause people to see how affirmitive action is just another form of discrimination, one against the majority. The government should just leave things be, don't give certain groups special rights no matter how oppressed they were in the past. Repeal any law in the books containing the words "black", "white", and "minority". Everyone will be equal, and they will learn to go on with their lives being treated the same as everyone else. If a private organization wants to give a scholarship, they can feel free to have any criteria they want, and these issues will cease.
March 21st, 2004, 03:21 AM
Lol, you are completely correct. They should just let it go because in the end everybody is gonna get slammed or have something "just for them" type of thing.
March 22nd, 2004, 10:19 PM
I love it when things like this happen. I'm sick of affirmative action and all the bullshit it carries. I don't give a rat's ass what color you are, or where you come from. The only thing that should matter on admissions is academic qualifications. When it comes to scholarships though, the qualifications whould be decided by the person who has to pay it.
w00t. I love me a good controversy.
Real security doesn't come with an installer.
April 29th, 2004, 02:58 AM
Sorry to bring up an old thread but I just have to add my 2 cents.
Personally, I am fed up with affirmative action. I am so sick of hearing how minorities are treated unfarily and bullshit, and I'm part cuban! Hell, I qualify for affirmative action and I hate the idea of it lol.
I have a question for you guys though, do you consider someone with turkish decent to be white or what? Because technically most of turkey is in the middle east and that makes them "middle easterns". I'm just wondering because I am also part turkish and never knew what to consider it so I'm always stumped when it comes to filling out applications because for some damn reason they all want to know your ethnicity lol.
April 29th, 2004, 08:52 AM
Hello Mr Duck,
You are European...............that is why you play soccer in the European Cup? and Turkey is joining the European Community?
Cuba is a "non-country" insofar as it has no aboriginals............by that I mean the inhabitants are all migrants, mostly from Spain in Cuba's case. Spain is European.............and I imagine that the American part of your family originated in Europe also?
I guess you must be European then?
Now that I have established contact with my "deep undercover mole" this is what I want you to do.........change the rules of the Americas Cup so we get to win once every 100 years or so?
April 29th, 2004, 04:13 PM
Turkey is also a long standing member of NATO. Being Turkish isn't a political crutch in the US so I would guess it's not as lucrative in affirmative action as being Cuban. The Turks gave us Yogurt and the Cubans Mohito - both worthy accomplishments in my book. While the City of Ankara, the nations capitol, looks like a lovely tree lined German or Belgium street (or in Nihil’s case British tree lined street, perhaps Warwick minus the castle) other eastern extreme cities like Adana or Gazi Antap look more like Iraq or Jordan, except for one European distinction among the young rebellious female population, they wear blue jeans and listen to techno laced with a middle eastern flair. Good stuff. Cuba is cool, but Turkey is really a cross road of civilization and history. I love Turkey so I could rant all day to back that statement.
Ataturk is almost synonymous with God in that country. Well that goes too far, he is a man of great reverence who lead Turkey out of the Ashes of Ottoman and positioned it on the side of Western Culture by re-inventing their language to a sort of Roman based alphabet versus the arabic style writing and he, well did a lot to provide a decent foundation to the future of Turkey back in the 40s and 50s. Even in Adana they look pretty white, but the people in Europe have a different viewpoint than I might, especially in Germany. In reality, if you talk face to face with a girl hanging on the beach in, say Antalya - her skin may be a little darker than mine but not darker than any society that lives in sunny climes. Her eyes are just as bright. Now if you are Greek, you may have a whole different viewpoint.
West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
April 29th, 2004, 11:23 PM
Nihil, in all due respect, your whole European roots theory really cant apply. If you think about it, the human race came out of africa, does that mean we're all black? Most of the south american and carribean population originated from spain or asia. And Now they are all a mix.
RoadClosed, I have done some research on the turkish population and yes, your right about turkish people being a mix of all different ethnicities and cultures, due to its location. It's right in the middle of 3 continents lol. Also keep in mind, race isnt technically determined by skin color. If you wanna get scientific about it, race is determined by head, nose, and lip shape, hair texture, even hair color, as well has skin color but its not a domination factor. I dont know many blond haired blue eyed turks . I'm not saying there aren't any, but they are definitly the minority. I must say im impressed with your knowledge of turkish history and culture though . And how bout them greeks huh? lol, we hate eachother, dont know why though, as far as I'm concerned, it's ancient history
I know that in america, being cuban, I'm not really considered white, even though I am part white. And then they hear that I'm part turkish, and all of a sudden I'm a "sand nigger" lol. It's all in good fun and all, but I'm just wondering what the rest of you all think about the turkish aspect it all.
April 30th, 2004, 12:05 AM
Over here you would be just an average white European............actual skin colour does not matter that much..................and we all come from India, not Africa.................I was there when Gondwanaland split up
A.L. Du Toit "Plate Tectonics" University of Jo'burg 1936