Columbia Had ‘Whites-Only’ Scholarship

Columbia University campus in New York City. (Diane Bondareff/AP)

** FILE ** This Oct. 10, 2007 file photo, shows the statue of Alma Mater on the campus of Columbia University in New York. Places that U.S. presidents have called home often become major tourist attractions, from estates at Mount Vernon and Monticello, to Hodgenville, Ky., where Abe Lincoln's log cabin once stood. But if you want to see all the places connected to Obama's life story, you'd need to visit three countries, five time zones and six states. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff, File)

Nice to know Columbia was doing its part for affirmative action—oh, never mind. Columbia University still has a “whites only” scholarship on its books—and it may even be illegal, according to papers filed in a Manhattan court. Benefactor Lydia C. Roberts, the heir to her husband’s medical-patents company, had left the bulk of her $509,000 estate to Columbia in 1920, but she stipulated the student who receives the scholarship must be white, from Iowa, not be studying law (we might understand that one), and must return to Iowa for two years after graduating. Oh, and none of the stipulations can be changed without a court order. The scholarship, now estimated to be worth about $800,000, has not been given since 1997, and it’s unclear if Columbia followed all the rules in the years it awarded it.