The Trump administration has plans to revoke the Obama-era guidelines that encourage colleges to consider race in the admission process.
“Trump administration officials plan to argue that the documents, published in 2011 and 2016, go beyond Supreme Court precedent on the issue and mislead schools to believe that legal forms of affirmative action are simpler to achieve than what the law allows,” writes the Wall Street Journal.
“The executive branch cannot circumvent Congress or the courts by creating guidance that goes beyond the law and—in some instances—stays on the books for decades,” said Devin O’Malley, Justice Department spokesperson to CNN in a statement. “Last year, the Attorney General initiated a review of guidance documents, which resulted in dozens of examples—including today’s second tranche of rescissions—of documents that go beyond or are inconsistent with the Constitution and federal law. The Justice Department remains committed to enforcing the law and protecting all Americans from all forms of illegal race-based discrimination.”
Colleges and universities have abused the guidelines in the past.
The Justice Department is currently investigating whether the Ivy League University Harvard illegally discriminated against at least 60 Asian-American students by holding them to a higher standard than other students when it came to admissions.
The suit was filed in 2014 by the Students for Fair Admissions group, which claims that Harvard purposely limited the number of Asian students accepted into the university.
In court filings last month, it was revealed that although Asian-American applicants often had higher average academic scores than other students, they received lowered marks on the “personal” score based on their character.
The guidelines were put in place in hopes of doing the opposite and to boost diversity at colleges, but it appears to be working against some students.
Democrats have been quick to claim that the Trump administration’s decision to remove race from the admission process will only threaten racial diversity.
“The law on this hasn’t changed, and the Supreme Court has twice ruled reaffirming the importance of diversity,” said Anurima Bargava, the former head of civil rights enforcement in schools under Obama. “This is a purely political attack that benefits nobody.”
How race plays a role in college admissions has been an ongoing argument.
“In 2016, the high court reaffirmed the practice in a 4-3 decision, but in his opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy left the door open to future legal challenges by saying universities must continue to review their affirmative-action policies to assess their positive and negative effects,” writes WSJ.“Mr. Kennedy has since announced his retirement, and advocates on both sides say his successor, to be nominated soon by President Donald Trump, may take a different view on the practice as the Harvard case wends its way through the courts.”
Author’s note: Trump is reversing this Obama guideline because it didn’t alleviate racism, it only encouraged it. It may have helped to diversified some campuses, but some students were denied solely because of their race. Should admission counselors be privy to this information? Doesn’t it make them bias in some way? If Harvard discriminated against Asians because this group is held to a higher standard, what other groups fell victim to these guidelines? Race has nothing to do with intellect.