Scholarships in George Floyd’s Name Increase, To What End?

More than a dozen universities have created scholarships in honor of George Floyd. But critics say schools need to do much more to address inequities in education. Tiffany Bui reports.

At George Floyd’s memorial service in June of last year, Scott Hagan, the president of North Central University in Minneapolis announced the creation of a scholarship in Floyd’s memory. 

“Far beyond North Central University, I am now challenging every university president in the United States to establish your own George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund,” said Hagan.

More than a dozen universities have answered the call, with the University of Minnesota being one of the first. On the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, the Carlson School of Business announced it would be establishing a scholarship to honor Floyd. The University of Minnesota has now created four George Floyd scholarships. 

Fanta Diallo, a University of Minnesota alum and activist, thinks universities need to do more than create scholarships in Floyd’s name. To her, universities need to acknowledge their role in upholding racism in the status quo.

“If we’re not calling out when, like, University cops are being racist, if we’re not highlighting Black voices on campus, if we’re not making safe spaces for POC students, if we’re not doing all of those things and more, we are a part of the problem,” said Diallo. 

Davarian Baldwin, a professor of American studies at Trinity College and a scholar focused on reparations at American universities, said the creation of scholarships is just one small part of the greater investments schools need to make into communities of color.

“If we end up developing a limited pool of college eligible students from a world not built to nurture their growth, and then place them in a college setting that has not been transformed to cultivate their development, then what have we really done?” asked Baldwin.

Baldwin suggests universities use their endowments to create affordable housing and other equity building projects. For the Racial Reckoning project, I’m Tiffany Bui. 


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