“The trust contains provisions that are impracticable and/or are inconsistent with Columbia’s administrative procedure,” Assistant Provost Lucy Drotning said in court papers obtained by the New York Post.
The scholarship in question is the Lydia C. Roberts graduate and traveling fellowship, which limits “Caucasian[s]” and Iowans to receive it, according to the New York Daily News. The scholarship was created in 1920.
Roberts was an heir to her husband’s medical company and left Columbia a portion of her $509,000 when she died in 1920.
“Circumstances have so changed from the time when the Trust was established,” reads the papers. “Columbia University is now prohibited by law and University policy from discriminating on the basis of race,” it adds.
The white-only rule possibly violates the U.S. Constitution, the Post reported. But the paper points out that it is not clear if Columbia adhered to the “whites-only” rule when doling out the money.
University officials filed court papers last week seeking to change the race provisions of the bequest.
The Daily News reports that Columbia hasn’t awarded the fellowship since 1997.
A Columbia spokesman didn’t return an email seeking comment Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.