Trump administration rolls back racial diversity guidelines for colleges

Trump Administration to Rescind Obama Guidelines on Race in College Admissions

The withdrawal of the Obama-era guidance constitutes a return to the George W. Bush-era policy discouraging affirmative action programs and instead encouraging the use of race-neutral alternatives, like percentage plans and economic diversity programs. In a statement, the school called the lawsuit an attack on its ability to consider race in admissions, which it says is necessary to assemble a diverse mix of students.

The high court's most recent significant ruling on the subject bolstered colleges' use of race among many factors in the college admission process.

The Trump administration plans to rescind some of the guidelines set by the Obama administration regarding the use of race in college admissions, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. This wasn't necssarily at odds with Court precedent, but it very well could have sent a message to schools that diversity at all costs was the top priority.

The administration's decision to rescind Obama-era guidelines will not change Northeastern's practice of using race as a consideration in admissions, Armini said.

The guidance reversed Tuesday provided examples of different educational contexts within which institutions could permissibly consider race and answered questions about how to interpret Supreme Court decisions.

The move to do away with the guidelines comes as the Justice Department looks into whether Harvard discriminated against Asian-American applicants by holding them to a higher standard during its admissions process.

And in the final year of Barack Obama's presidency, the Supreme Court vindicated his administration's position.

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. We've seen again and again the Supreme Court come out and say that there are permissible ways for schools to be able to promote diversity and prevent racial isolations. What I hope is that colleges and universities and schools realize that the law hasn't changed and that this doesn't serve as a deterrent or discouragement from taking steps that they have wanted to take.

MJ: Could you explain what the Trump administration's decision today accomplishes?

"The Trump administration is sending precisely the wrong message to institutions that are committed to following four decades of Supreme Court precedent", said Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, a trade group that represents presidents of numerous country's colleges and universities.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled over a series of cases that universities may use affirmative action to help minority applicants get into college.

Revoking the Obama-era guidance on affirmative action could affect elementary and secondary schools that have grappled with racial imbalances. At the time, Sessions made an internal announcement that the Department of Justice was looking for attorneys to work on "possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions". In addition to those guidances, the Justice Department pulled 17 other policy directives it deemed "unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper".

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