Six New York medical schools have been hit with civil rights complaints for discriminating against white and Asian teens by making it easier for blacks and others to join their introductory courses.

Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and other prestigious institutions face probes by the federal Department of Education.

The complaints, filed by the nonprofit Equal Protection Project (EPP), say the state’s Science and Technology Entry Program (NY-STEP) makes it easier for some 7-12th graders to get a spot than others.

Under the scheme, students who are black, Latino, Alaskan native or American Indian can seek a place. Others — including whites and Asians — have to also show they’re ‘economically disadvantaged’ to apply.

Students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai — one of the schools facing a civil rights complaint

William Jacobson, EPP’s founder, said this ‘additional barrier to eligibility’ was illegal.

‘Erecting additional barriers for some races and ethnic groups in and of itself is unlawful discrimination,’ Jacobson told

‘Imagine if the roles were reversed, and these programs explicitly favored Asians and whites — there would be universal outrage and these medical schools would never accept such funding.’

William Jacobson says the extra barrier for whites and Asians is illegal reached out to NYU, Columbia University and the other schools that were subject to complaints.

They were the Albany Medical College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and The University of Rochester Medical Center.

None of them replied to our emails.

The schemes are designed to give ‘highly motivated’ secondary school students who are interested in healthcare careers to visit the state’s top medical schools, learn key skills and get a mentor.

They aim to ‘increase the number of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students’ in the medical field, according to Columbia University’s website.

Still, Jacobson says, the policy unfairly assumes that all white and Asian kids have it easy.

‘The eligibility guidelines engage in the types of crude stereotypes that presume students of certain racial and ethnic groups are disadvantaged and in need of preference,’ he said.

The six letters of complaint were filed with the federal Department of Education’s civil rights office in New York.

Albany Medical College’s website features details of the NY-STEP scheme

Students at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, which also faces a probe

EPP says the schools should face fines or lose out on federal funding.

The civil rights office is a ‘neutral fact-finder’ that aims to investigate complaints and propose resolutions, according to its website.

The letters refer to the US Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down affirmative action in college admissions.

The justices declared that race cannot be a factor in the process, forcing institutions of higher education to look for new ways to achieve diverse student bodies.

EPP says it is against racial discrimination in college admissions.

Most of its cases and complaints involve discrimination against whites.

The number of blacks and Latinos enrolled at US medical schools is rising, but they are still underrepresented, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

One of EPP’s complaint letters against New York’s top medical schools   

African American students made up a tenth of those enrolled in the 2022-23 year, while Latinos made up 12 percent.

Meanwhile, the share of American Indian and Alaskan natives enrolled has dropped.

They only made up 1 percent of this year’s cohort.

For some, diversity schemes are important and necessary, as they can help to overcome historical racism and sexism and make it easier for people of all backgrounds to get ahead in education and work.

Critics, however, say they’re a form of reverse racism that unfairly blows back on white men.

Others still say they may be well-intentioned, but seldom achieve their desired outcomes and often make things worse by stirring up divisions in offices and classrooms.

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