THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT cracks down, with a twist, on racial discrimination in higher education:

President Bush’s administration has threatened to sue Southern Illinois University, alleging its fellowship programs for minority and female students violate federal civil rights laws by discriminating against whites, men and others. . . .

“The University has engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional discrimination against whites, non-preferred minorities and males,” says a Justice Department letter sent to the university last week and obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The letter demands the university cease the fellowship programs, or the department’s civil rights division will sue SIU by Nov. 18.

(Via Josh Claybourn, who observes: “From my brief inspection of two of the fellowships, race appears to be the only factor. The outcome of this DOJ pressure, and any subsequent litigation, will have far-reaching implications on the scholarship culture and, in turn, higher education across the country.”) This will certainly make waves.

UPDATE: Aaron at FreeWillBlog has further thoughts on what this is likely to mean.

ANOTHER UPDATE: LaShawn Barber has more thoughts on the subject, which are, as always, worth reading.