Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump revokes Obama policy using race in school admissions

Trump revokes Obama policy using race in school admissions

In a pair of policy guidance documents, the Education and Justice departments told elementary and secondary schools and college campuses to use "the compelling interests" established by the court to achieve diversity.

In November, Mr. Sessions issued a memo barring Justice Department components from using guidance documents to circumvent the rulemaking process.

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

The ruling bitterly disappointed conservatives who thought that Kennedy would be part of a Supreme Court majority to outlaw affirmative action in education. The new case, particularly with the recent retirement announcement of Justice Kennedy, puts that ruling in danger.

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Students for Fair Admissions alleges that Harvard's rating system is stacked against Asian-Americans who tend to score lower on evaluations of personal traits, such as likability, even though their tests scores may be higher than those of other applicants and they participate in many extracurricular activities.

The 2011 guidance dictating the protections to refugees and asylum seekers is perhaps the most influential of the rescinded documents. They were meant to be a tool and resource. Such guidance does not have the force of law, but schools could use it to help defend themselves against lawsuits over their admission policies. The case appears destined for the Supreme Court; and the court's pending, far-right majority seems quite likely to side with the plaintiffs.

Many have not shied away from expressing their deep disappointment over the Trump administration's Tuesday decision. The Trump administration chose to take down these guidances at this moment when there haven't been any changes in the law.

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 administration's decision to rescind Obama-era guidelines will not change Northeastern's practice of using race as a consideration in admissions, Armini said. They were talking about when schools and colleges and universities want to try and promote diversity amongst their student body and how they are able to do that.

MJ: How does this action compare to what other Republican administrations have done in the past? This situation is unclear to me as there hasn't been any change in the law. The policy represents the official view of the federal government and schools that do not follow it could face action from the Justice Department or lose federal funding, it said. That is why higher-education leaders have argued repeatedly to the Supreme Court that its precedents on affirmative action should be upheld.

"We're now looking at a post-Kennedy Supreme Court". There's no question that one of the areas that this administration wants to take a swipe at is affirmative action, as they describe it.

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