Trump ditches Obama guidelines which told colleges to consider applicants' race

04 July, 2018, 08:26 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Donald Trump and Barack Obama

The policy, enacted by President Barack Obama's Justice and Education departments in 2011 and 2016, focused on providing legal guidance to colleges that wanted to include race as a factor in the admission process.

The Trump administration's announcement is more in line with Bush-era policy that discouraged affirmative action and instead encouraged the use of race-neutral alternatives, like percentage plans and economic diversity programs.

The Trump policy shift, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes at a pivotal moment in the long-running affirmative-action debate as President Donald Trump weighs a replacement for Anthony Kennedy, the retiring Supreme Court justice who was a swing vote in landmark cases.

However Conservatives have said such programs can hurt white people and Asian-Americans.

The Department of Education and Justice Department also said the previous administration's guidance went beyond the requirements of the Constitution to "prematurely decide, or appear to decide, whether particular actions violate the Constitution or federal law". We have a Supreme Court that in recent years has been active in giving directives and direction to colleges and universities about what they can or cannot do.

"Yet again we see that this administration's goal and vision for "Making America Great Again" is to reduce the role of the state in making sure our society prizes diversity and inclusion", Richmond said in a statement.

Peter McDonough, vice president and general counsel of the American Council on Education, which represents college and university presidents, said he doubted schools would change admission policies based exclusively on Tuesday's announcement.

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AB: We know Kennedy has been the deciding vote on almost all of the cases around diversity in schools, both at the K-12 level and at the higher education level.

"This is a wholly political attack", Ms. Bhargava said.

These types of non-binding directives have been a popular tool for administrations to weigh in on the issue of affirmative action on campus. He noted that administrative guidance does not carry the legal weight of court rulings or statutes enacted by Congress.

The department this year sided with Asian-American plaintiffs suing Harvard University who argue that the school unlawfully limits how many of Asian students are admitted. For them to take down this guidance right now, at a time when we see far too many incidents of racial violence and deepening tensions, is not the way that the federal government should support colleges and universities that are trying to do this kind of work.

It alleges that the Ivy League university intentionally discriminates against Asian-Americans by limiting the number of Asians who are admitted.

Ultimately, it should not come as a surprise that the Trump administration would rescind these guidelines, said Tomiko Brown-Nagin, the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and a constitutional law expert.

Civil liberties groups immediately decried the move, saying it went against decades of court rulings that permit colleges and universities to take race into account.

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