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Lawsuit: College grant program not open to all minorities

April 15, 2021 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A lawsuit filed Thursday by a Madison couple and others alleges that a college grant program for minorities violates the Wisconsin Constitution.

The complaint said grants offered by the state’s Higher Educational Aids Board are available to some minorities but not to others. Konkanok Rabiebna and Richard Freihoefer, of Madison, say their biracial teenage son is not eligible for the grant program.

“Government programs must be available to everybody, not just certain racial groups,” Rabiebna said in a statement.

The Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant program is open to those who are Black, Native American or Hispanic or who came to the United States from Vietnam, Laos or Thailand after December 1975, soon after the Vietnam War ended, the Journal Sentinel reported.

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Those who came from other Asian countries, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan or anywhere else don’t qualify for it.

“This is discrimination based on race, national origin, and alienage, which is forbidden by the Wisconsin Constitution,” attorney Daniel Lennington wrote in the suit, which was brought with the assistance of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

Court documents do not list an attorney for the Higher Educational Aids Board.