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UCLA, UC consider cutting 2 scholarships connected with Confederate heritage group

UCLA is in discussion with the University of California to end two scholarships offered by a Confederate heritage group. (Niveda Tennety/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Aaron Untiveros and Jessica Wong

Aug. 5, 2020 6:11 p.m.

UCLA is considering terminating two scholarships offered by a Confederacy heritage group.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy’s California Division currently offers two scholarships to students at the University of California who are descendants of either a Confederacy veteran or a Confederacy veteran’s sibling: the Lulie C. Scattergood Scholarship and the Sidney Lanier Memorial Scholarship.

The UDC is a Virginia-based nonprofit women’s organization dedicated to honoring the history of the Confederacy, which was a group of 11 states that seceded from the United States between 1860 and 1865 in part to preserve slavery. According to the UDC website, the organization protects places of “Confederate valor” and collects “material for a truthful history” of the Civil War, which it refers to as the War between the States.

The UDC’s California Division, one of the UDC’s 19 divisions, established both scholarships in the 1930s to support undergraduate and graduate student descendants of veterans of the Confederate Army who fought in the Civil War, according to the scholarships’ websites.

When the UC accepted an endowment from the UDC’s California Division in the 1930s, the UC accepted the financial responsibility to offer both scholarships, said UC spokesperson Sarah McBride in an emailed statement.

However, since the UC’s values no longer align with what the two scholarships represent, the university began exploring other options in June, McBride added.

UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said in an emailed statement that UCLA is working with the UC Office of the President to potentially end the endowments and relinquish the funds. UCLA administers the funds on behalf of the UC system and does not set the eligibility requirements for the scholarships or decide who receives them, Vazquez added.

The UDC’s California Division awarded $8,000 in 2017-2018 to students in California attending four-year institutions, according to its website.

The UDC and the UDC’s California Division did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the UDC as a neo-Confederate organization, which it defines as a group that glorifies Confederate culture and may share members with racist organizations.

An SPLC report published in 2000 said the UDC had worked closely with other racist groups such as the Council of Conservative Citizens and the League of the South to erect Confederate monuments and stage Confederate battle flag rallies. UDC President William Wells had spoken alongside Michael Hill, the League president, and Kirk Lyons, a white supremacist lawyer, the report added.

Since its foundation in 1894, the UDC has sponsored more than 380 Confederate monuments in Southern states, according to data compiled by the SPLC. These monuments include a carving of three Confederate generals — Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Thomas Jackson — into Stone Mountain in Georgia, according to a SPLC report.

In a 2018 statement posted on the UDC website’s home page, UDC President Nelma Crutcher said the UDC denounces groups or individuals that promote white supremacy and is “saddened” that some find the Confederacy connection offensive.

In addition to offering scholarships, the UDC’s California Division also donates money and volunteers to help U.S. troops, maintains historical records and sites — such as cemeteries and battlefields — and cares for the elderly, according to their website.

Undergraduate Students Association Council Financial Supports Commissioner Noe Garcia said he thinks the UC should end its partnership with the UDC.

Garcia said he hadn’t heard about the scholarships until he was contacted by The Bruin for an interview but added that the Financial Supports Commission will contact the Scholarship Resource Center to cut ties with the UDC or any other groups that are based on racist ideologies.

The FSC will also look into other scholarships offered at UCLA by groups with ties to racist organizations or groups that support white supremacy, said Garcia, a third-year public affairs student.

“That’s just not something that I think should have been on the UCLA (scholarship) website for as long as it has been,” Garcia said. “And I think it’s definitely time to start removing these scholarships from any UCLA affiliated websites.”

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