Legal counsel for the Project on Fair Representation sent a letter to Central Piedmont Community College, because a fully funded fellowship program there is purportedly only open to “Black / African American” candidates. The April 18 letter warns the college “that you are likely violating the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and other federal civil rights laws.” 

The fellowship created by the college and ITW is for students “pursuing a career path in Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology; Welding Technology; Automotive Systems Technology; or Electrical Systems Technology.” 

The letter continually reinforces that it is illegal to deny individuals equality under the law, saying the government upholds race neutrality rather than favoritism based on race. The letter goes on to state that any evidence of past discrimination does not entitle the college or other public institutions to practice any current discrimination based on race. The letter praises the goals of the fellowship, which offers full tuition, internships, and career opportunities, but wonders why it’s only open to one specific race.

“You should change course immediately,” reads the closing of the letter to the college. “This fellowship program should be open to all students at Central Piedmont, regardless of their race or ethnicity. I look forward to receiving your response.

Central Piedmont Community College was founded in 1963 and is a public school in Charlotte.