White House to Ditch Obama Affirmative Action Guidelines

Marsha Scott
July 4, 2018

The policies were introduced by Mr Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, and outlined legal recommendations for institutions looking to consider race in applications as a way to boost diversity on campuses. The court has ruled that colleges and universities can use affirmative action to help minority students get into school, but conservatives over the years have argued that these programs hurt the chances of white and Asian-American applicants.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration believes the Obama-era guidelines "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".

Harvard says its admissions policies comply with us laws and that it has worked to boost financial aid to ensure economic, as well as racial, diversity in its classes.

Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit opposed to affirmative action, said in a study that Harvard routinely assigns lower scores to Asian students in subjective rating categories meant to measure attributes such as likability, courage and kindness, putting them at a major disadvantage compared with white students.

Students protest in support of affirmative action, outside the Supreme Court during the hearing of "Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action" on October 15, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Kristen Clarke, the executive director of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights called the decision a "politically motivated attack on affirmative action" and a "deliberate attempt to discourage colleges and universities from pursuing racial diversity at our nation's colleges and universities".

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The action comes amid a high-profile court fight over Harvard University admissions that has attracted the government's attention, as well as Supreme Court turnover expected to produce a more critical eye toward schools' race-conscious admissions policies.

MJ: How does this action compare to what other Republican administrations have done in the past? The Bush administration had sternly reminded schools that they could consider race in admissions only if they had absolutely no other method of achieving diverse classrooms. "We still have all of the Supreme Court rulings that would influence how we handle this". Blum said Tuesday the organization "welcomes any governmental actions that will eliminate racial classifications and preferences in college admissions". "That's why I banned this practice [of implementing new rules without public notice] at the Department and we began rescinding guidance documents that were issued improperly or were simply inconsistent with current law".

A lawsuit against Harvard over the alleged discrimination against Asian-Americans is working its way through the courts now.

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 rights groups criticized the Trump administration's announcement, saying it went against decades of court precedent permitting colleges to take race into account.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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