The Trump administration is withdrawing from a series of affirmative-action policy guidelines introduced under former President Barack Obama that encourages consideration of race in colleges and universities in order to promote campus diversity, CNBC informed.
The guidelines, implemented by previous president Obama between 2010 and 2016, provided legal recommendations that officials in the Trump White House say “mislead schools to believe that legal forms of affirmative action are simpler to achieve than the law allows,” according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The Trump administration signaled the rules might be abandoned a year ago, when it started searching for lawyers who were interested in investigating “intentional race-based discrimination” on college campuses. Administration lawyers are investigating a 2015 complaint alleging that Harvard University discriminates against Asian-Americans in its admissions practices.
“The Supreme Court has determined what affirmative action policies are Constitutional, and the Court’s written decisions are the best guide for navigating this complex issue,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “Schools should continue to offer equal opportunities for all students while abiding by the law.”
Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit organization 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.
Edward Blum, a legal strategist who founded Students for Fair Admissions, issued a statement saying his group’s filing “exposes the startling magnitude of Harvard’s discrimination.”
Harvard blasted the study in an opposing court filing and submitted a countering study that found no evidence of bias. 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.
“Harvard will continue to vigorously defend our right, and that of other colleges and universities nationwide, to seek the educational benefits that come from a class that is diverse on multiple dimensions,” the institution said.