February 26, 2011; Source: Austin American-Statesman | Men and women of color need not apply. That's the apparent message from a newly formed nonprofit that intends to award scholarships exclusively to white men. If the group's purpose seems lacking in subtlety and sensitivity, so does its name: Former Majority Association for Equality (FMAE).
Founder Colby Bohannon, a student at Texas University, said he started the group so other white men wouldn't have the same trouble as he did when trying to find a scholarship to help pay for his education. Scholarships he researched after deciding to return to school following his service in the Iraq War were mostly available to females or minority students. "I felt excluded. If everyone else can find scholarships, why are we left out?"
Sign up for our free newsletter
Subscribe to the NPQ newsletter to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.
The group plans to begin awarding $500 scholarships this summer to white men with at least a 3.0 grade point average. However, as of last week, the group had raised only $485. It's not clear if he's trying to avoid charges of racism or discrimination – both which he denies – but Bohannon notes that applicants need only to be at least 25 percent non-Hispanic white. "My feeling is that if you can say you're 25 percent Caucasian, you're Caucasian enough for us."
How does Texas State University feel about the scholarship program? Joanne Smith, vice president of student affairs, says other scholarships are limited to specific applicants, and the University can't "take issue with a scholarship offered to a certain group."—Bruce Trachtenberg