CSU works to change gendered requirements in scholarships

Ceci Taylor

Recently, one professor discovered Colorado State University offers some scholarships that only students of a certain gender are eligible to receive. She decided to find out why.

Laura Raynolds, a professor of sociology at CSU, said that this was first brought to her attention when she was assigned to a scholarship committee and was tasked to award a student with the Delano F. Scott Scholarship

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The scholarship requirements say that the recipient must be “a male sophomore, junior or senior enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts.”

“I questioned whether that was legal or not because that would seem to be discriminatory,” Raynolds said. “I was told that because those specifications were not illegal at the time the scholarship was created — this is a very old scholarship — it was not illegal.”

Vice President of Division and Access at CSU Leslie Taylor, said that the University does have a limited number of legacy scholarships that are restricted by gender, which includes three scholarships limited to males and four limited to females. She said that the University is working to change these requirements.

According to the CSUSA website, scholarships that are only available to females in the sciences include the Native Women in Science Scholarship and the Jean Tramell Shepardson Health and Exercise Science Scholarship. Additionally, there are the Luanne G. Williams Memorial Scholarship, for female veterinary medical students with an interest in the study of llamas, and the Marion Carnes Hendrie Scholarship, available for any major.

Scholarships that are only available to male students include the Delano F. Scott Scholarship, the Myron Brown Ludlow Scholarship, which are both for men of any major in the College of Liberal Arts, and the Howard Scholarship, which is available to men of any major.

Taylor said that a living relative of the person who first established the scholarship must be found in order to legally change the requirements. She said if none can be found, an attorney general can also change the original requirements.

“We’ve gone through and changed a lot of scholarships, but you have to have a living relative to change the requirements,” Taylor said. “It’s a rather difficult and complicated process, but of the seven that still have gendered criteria, I believe we’re still working to find a living relative to change those requirements.”

Taylor said that she hopes the gendered criteria will be gone by the time summer vacation is over. She also said that any new scholarships that come in aren’t allowed to base requirements off of gender.

Taylor said that, despite these examples, there are over 1,000 scholarships available and almost 3,400 students were awarded scholarships through CSUSA.

“CSU offers over 1,000 scholarships, and there are only seven that we are concerned about,” Taylor said. “But we are still concerned enough to care.”

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In the case of the Delano F. Scott Scholarship, Raynolds also said that the scholarship’s requirements couldn’t be changed because of legal reasons.

“I was told it would be illegal for the University to give that scholarship to a female student, and that their choice was either to give the scholarship or not,” Raynolds said. “Under those conditions, I would rather students have scholarships for CSU and did not suggest that we give nobody the scholarship.”

Raynolds said that one solution would be to offer female students a similar scholarship of equal amount, but she wasn’t sure if that would be legal. She also said that offering female students scholarships in areas where they go underrepresented could be another solution.

“I would wonder if we thought about the areas in which female students continue to be underrepresented,” Raynolds said. “Are there scholarships, for example, in computer sciences that are only available for women?”

Raynolds said that this issue isn’t necessarily an issue of gender inequity today, but a reflection of past values.

“We’re thinking about how we can foster gender equity now, but also thinking of it as a reflection of historical gender inequities,” Raynolds said. “I mean here’s an institutionalized inequality that remains. Gender inequities don’t disappear, they’re institutionalized in ways we don’t often think of or see.”

Ceci Taylor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at cecelia_twt