A new scholarship would give students at historically Black colleges and universities an unusual opportunity to experience bipartisanship in the U.S. Senate.
The scholarships from the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation go to high-achieving HBCU students and include internships split between work with Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and a Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.
The Utah-based foundation said the program both helps Black students who are underrepresented in Congress and promotes bipartisanship during these politically polarized times.
“Bipartisanship can be a catchy buzzword, but it’s not always backed by action. The Hatch Center is looking to change that,” said Matt Sandgren, executive director of the foundation.
Sen. Scott said the scholarship will make a difference in students’ lives.
“The American Promise Scholarship will open doors for many of our nation’s bright students who may not be able to gain government experience otherwise,” he said.
Mr. Coon said: “Senate internships are an excellent way for young people to learn firsthand about the American system of government, and I look forward to working with these students in my DC office.”
The center is named after former Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican known for working across the aisle during the 42 years he represented Utah in the Senate.
Mr. Hatch, who retired in 2019, staunchly championed a conservative agenda that included limiting abortion. He also defended Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas against sexual harassment allegations during grueling confirmation hearings. Famously, he read aloud from “The Exorcist” to suggest Anita Hill lifted details of her sexual harassment allegations from the horror book.
At another juncture, Mr. Hatch recommended that President Bill Clinton name Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal, to the court.
Not afraid to cross the aisle, Hatch teamed with Democrats to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program for low-income families.
Mr. Sandgren said the scholarship is intended to try to bring back that spirit of cooperation.
“By exposing students to different political persuasions, this scholarship will leave them more inclined — and more prepared — to set partisanship aside in the future to tackle our nation’s greatest problems,” Mr. Sandgren said.