A group of Republican members of Congress called on federal education officials to take “proper action” against the University of Minnesota after the school offered a summer research program that banned white students.

Five conservative representatives on Friday urged US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Catherine Lhamon, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, to continue the investigation into the “Multicultural Summer Research Opportunities Program” for “students of color and Native Americans.”

“It is our understanding that a case has already been opened into this matter and it is critical that you fully and fairly exercise your authority, investigate these unlawful practices by the University of Minnesota, and take proper action to ensure that this does not continue,” wrote Reps. Brad Finstad, Tom Emmer, Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber, all Minnesota Republicans, and Burgess Owens (R-Utah).

The college made adjustments to the program last week after the Equal Protection Project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation filed a complaint with federal civil rights officials.

The university said in a statement that it had been unaware that the segregation was illegal. The program had been in place for decades and was developed to “address the underrepresentation of students of color at the graduate or professional level,” the school said.

The Equal Protection Project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation called the university’s corrective action last week “a good first step” but urged officials to “issue a formal apology and implement changes to make sure the discrimination does not continue out of public view.”

In April, University of Minnesota academics retracted an article they wrote claiming there was pervasive “structural racism” at the institution after blowback from officials.

By Jessie O'Neill