A Canadian judge has struck down a recently deceased doctor’s plan to create a scholarship for heterosexual white men on the grounds it is “contrary to public policy.”
Radiologist Victor Priebe died on New Year’s Day 2015, and included a provision in his will to establish a scholarship with an unusual stipulation. The provision requests the Royal Trust Corporation of Canada, his trustee, to establish a scholarship fund targeted at single, straight, white men who intend to study science. The scholarship also requests the recipient not play collegiate sports and that they not show an aversion to manual labor.
Priebe’s will also sought to create a similar scholarship a single woman who “is not a feminist or a lesbian.”
But Priebe’s will has now been struck down in court by a judge who says it is too offensive to take effect.
Canadian law allows for judges to nullify wills if the deceased’s wishes are deemed “contrary to public policy.” In this case, Ontario Superior Court Justice Alissa Mitchell decided that offering academic assistance to white men would violate the fundamental interests of Canada’s government.
“I have no hesitation in declaring the qualifications relating to race, marital status, and sexual orientation and, in the case of female candidates, philosophical ideology…void as being contrary to public policy,” Mitchell wrote, according to The Globe and Mail.
Mitchell’s decision isn’t based on a general opposition to scholarships that are based on race, sex, or other innate characteristics. Instead, it’s focused specifically on preventing such scholarships from existing for straight white men. Many Canadian universities have scholarships specifically intended for women, non-white racial groups, or sexual minorities. At the University of Victoria, for example, there are scholarships specifically for students who are Chinese, First Nations, or female.
Thanks to Mitchell’s decision, Priebe’s estate will not be providing any scholarships. His will included a clause that cancels the scholarships if a court struck down its requirements.
It’s not the first time Canadian courts have overruled a will due to requests deemed to be discriminatory. According to the National Post, previous requests that were blocked include an attempted donation to a neo-Nazi group and a man’s effort to ensure his property was only sold to Anglicans or Presbyterians.
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