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Hannity

University Scholarship for Whites Only

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", February 16, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: A student group at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island is causing quite a stir by establishing a new scholarship for which only white students are eligible. The college Republicans started scholarship as a formal protest to affirmative action.

And Roger Williams University is not endorsing the scholarship, and the administration has declared it will stay out of the issue.

Joining us now is the president of the College Republicans. Jason Mattera is with us. Jason, how are you?

JASON MATTERA, PRESIDENT, COLLEGE REPUBLICANS, ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY: Good, Sean.

HANNITY: Rhode Island, a beautiful part of the country. I lived up there for a couple of years in my life.

All right. Tell us what you're trying to do here?

Mattera: We're trying to show the inequality on campus, that just because of someone's skin color, they're automatically at a disadvantage and are handicapped. And there's not scholarships compiled for them just on campus.

However, if you're a minority student or a student of color, as the school references them, there's a lot of scholarships that are compiled and they help you get them. And we think that's unfair. If you're going to have race-based scholarships that's fine, but let's be equal. Let's treat everyone equally.

HANNITY: Right. Yes. You were the recipient yourself, I read, of a $5,000 scholarship that was only open to minorities yourself. Is that true?

MATTERA: I was open to a Hispanic college fund scholarship, yes.

HANNITY: All right. Now this application, this is only a $250 award, correct? And you also have to write an essay. Why are you proud of your white heritage, right? And you have to send in a picture to confirm your whiteness.

Here's my problem here. You know what bothers me and I'm a conservative, I'm a Republican and I think affirmative action is wrong.

It just sounds, it sounds like something I'd expect a racist to do. And I think there are more effective ways where you can get your point across. And I know -- I think your intention is right, I think you're doing it in a way that people are not going to see the intent.

They're not going to get the point. They're just going to see you and they are going to come to a conclusion that I wouldn't want them to draw about you or your group.

MATTERA: Well, I think, Sean, that term racist is thrown around too loosely, and since we're dealing with college students on campus, and since minority scholarships do ask for pictures, why do they ask for pictures? It's to see if, what, you're black or not.

HANNITY: I know, but the point is, I find any -- I find any race- based scholarship -- I mean, if we believe in Martin Luther King's motto, you judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, I believe that with all my heart. Then you follow that by example.

You don't go and say, all right. you're doing it. We're going to do it to make a point. I think people will tend to look at what you're doing more than the point you're trying to make. I think it's a risk you're running.

HANNITY: And I think there are probably more effective ways to make the point. You don't agree with that?

MATTERA: No, I don't agree with it, just like there was affirmative action bake sales where they were charged 25 cents for cookies for a black student and maybe $3 for a white student. I think it gets the point across.

And I'm telling you, Sean, right now you said the scholarship was up to $250. It's now over $3,000 with pledges, because they realized that, if you are white on campus or from Caucasian descent, you're inherently at a disadvantage.

We can either transcend, we can transcend race and go right to merit, or we should give out equally.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: And Jason, by the way, it's Alan, welcome to the show.

MATTERA: Thank you, Alan.

COLMES: As Sean pointed out -- and I understand the point you're making as well. I happen to agree with Sean, it may not be the most effective way to make it. You yourself, as Sean pointed out, received a $5,000 scholarship from the Hispanic College Fund.

Isn't it a little hypocritical now for you to rail against special ethnically oriented college funds when you, yourself were a beneficiary of one?

MATTERA: No, Alan, I think it just strengthens my argument, because I have nothing personally to gain from this. In fact, I have something personally to lose from sponsoring this scholarship.

And again, we can transcend race altogether and go right to merit. And that might be the ideal, but that's not happening on college campuses.

COLMES: Would you want to renounce your scholarship for $5,000? You want to give the money back?

MATTERA: I think that's missing the points, Alan. Again, I have nothing to personally gain from this.

However, if you're going to give out white -- if you're going to give out race-based scholarships on campus, at Roger Williams University and campuses across the country, we should offer them to everyone. So...

COLMES: Where would you be without that $5,000 scholarship you got, open to Hispanics?

MATTERA: Where would I be? I would be taking a loan for that, but it proves the point.

Why am I inherently at an advantage on my college campus just because my parents have Puerto Rican descent in them?

I'm inherently at an advantage. Those who have similar grade point averages and similar financial needs are not at that advantage, and that's wrong, Alan.

HANNITY: Jason, appreciate you being with us. Thanks for being on- board. Thank you very much.

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