New George Floyd scholarship sends the wrong message to black children

The constant push for virtue reported to the idol of social justice is causing some of our historically trusted academic, healthcare, and journalism institutions to lose public trust and further splinter our nation. Minnesota seems to be at the epicenter of it all.

The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota recently endowed a new scholarship to honor George Perry Floyd Jr. This is the wrong decision and undermines the work of the civil rights movement and what we communicate to black American children through the country.

What happened to George Floyd was a travesty. But it is important that we remain disciplined in acknowledging this tragedy. When we honor someone’s life with a scholarship to an institution of higher learning, we must honor the sacrifice, achievements and virtues of a person’s life.

With about 50% of black students graduating from public schools in Minneapolis near the bottom of the country and about 80% of black children born into fatherless homes in the Twin Cities, the University of Minnesota is expected to raise role models of character and achievement. who convey hope and opportunity, not death and despair.

Wes Laseski, an alumnus of the University of Minnesota, conveys a message with which I wholeheartedly agree: “While I support diversity and inclusion for all, I do not believe that Carlson establishing a George Floyd scholarship is the best way to achieve this goal. What about creating scholarships to recognize great Americans or great student achievement in the name of uniting our country? Let’s build around the positive rather than the negative.

Laseski believes “George Floyd’s personal history should make him downright ineligible for a scholarship namesake: combining his terrible personal history, including imprisonment, drug addiction and physical assault with the absence of any commitment such as paternity, makes me wonder how Carlson can establish a scholarship in his honor.

Carlson should impress upon incoming students that education can improve their lives while making our country even greater, and the scholarship does not do that, Laseski concluded.

There are many other Black Americans who could be honored with a scholarship on their behalf. We often refer to iconic figures from the past, but contemporary figures worthy of such honors include Condoleezza Rice, Michelle Obama, Dr. Ben Carson, Justice Alan Page, Justice Wilhelmina Wright, and many others from various disciplines. They have all overcome significant obstacles in life through the virtues of hard work, perseverance and faith in America’s promise.

I urge the university to re-evaluate the decision and consider renaming the scholarship to send a different and more positive message. Zeal for political correctness and social justice should not cloud our better judgment.


Kendall Qualls is a Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota. Prior to his candidacy, he was president of TakeCharge, which is an organization committed to supporting the idea that America’s Promise works for everyone, regardless of race or situation in life. He is a former army officer and health executive. Kendal has been married for 35 years and has five children.

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