Google Quietly Stops Race-Based Criteria for Fellowship

( )- Last month, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Google’s research fellowship program that included strict caps on the number of white and Asian students that can be nominated likely violated civil rights law and could threaten the federal funding of participating schools.

The Google Ph.D. Fellowship, which gives promising computer scientists around $100,000, allows participating universities, including many of the country’s most elite schools, to nominate up to four students annually. However, each participating university nominating four students was required to ensure that two of the nominees “self-identify” as black, Hispanic, Indigenous, female, or disabled.

According to legal experts who spoke with the Free Beacon, such a practice is likely illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1866. What’s more, it violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for universities that receive federal funding to nominate students based on race.

Well, this week, the Free Beacon reported that Google, along with IBM, both dropped the mandated race-based requirement after the Free Beacon’s earlier report had exposed the practice.

In Google’s updated criteria, universities are now only “strongly” encouraged to prioritize non-White and non-Asian candidates. Meanwhile, IBM changed its language to suggest that universities merely “consider” nominating “a diverse slate of candidates.”

In another report last week, the Free Beacon revealed that Microsoft is doing the same thing for its research fellowship program.

According to the report, the Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellowship, which includes a generous $42,000 stipend, allows participating universities to nominate as many as four students each year. But Microsoft requires that at least two of the four nominees must “self-identify as a woman, African American, Black, Hispanic, Latinx, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQI+, active or veteran service member, and/or person with a disability.”

In July, Amazon was hit with a class-action complaint over its program that gives $10,000 stipends for the launch of delivery start-ups to “Black, Latinx, and Native American entrepreneurs.” The lawsuit alleges that the program violates the 1866 Civil Rights Act because whites and Asians are not eligible.