Trump reverses school admission guidelines that promote diversity

Trump administration to rollback Obama-era college admission guidelines on race

Kennedy announced his retirement last week, allowing Trump the chance to nominate a more conservative successor.

A formal announcement was expected later Tuesday from the Justice and Education departments, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the new guidance ahead of its release. The new policy would not have the force of law, but it amounts to the official view of the federal government. Federal prosecutors will investigate and sue universities over discriminatory admissions policies, he said. "I also will add that Whitworth continues unapologetically and unflinchingly committed to being an institution in which diversity, equity and inclusion are central to our mission". "The message - but not the law - could be that if you take race into account or ethnicity into account as one of the several factors in your review process, you're going to be challenged", he said.

The federal government's policy now reverts to what it was during the George W. Bush administration, which said schools should not consider race in admissions unless it was essential to achieving their educational missions.

In summary, the guidelines give institutions options on how to promote racial diversity without specifically targeting and isolating race as a primary factor in the admissions decision.

The move withdraws guidance issued by the Obama administration that encouraged universities to consider race when evaluating applications, arguing that a "race-neutral" process could disadvantage potential students from minority groups.

That will offer the Trump administration an opportunity to pick a judge who favors race-blind admissions policies, experts said.

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"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.

"As the Supreme Court has recognized", one of the documents states, "diversity has benefits for all students, and today's students must be prepared to succeed in a diverse society and an increasingly global workforce".

The Trump administration's Justice Department had already signaled concern about the use of race in admissions decisions. That lawsuit in US District Court in Boston hinges on whether Harvard limits the number of Asian-American students it admits every year. In 2016, Kennedy was the deciding vote in a case against the University of Texas to uphold affirmative action. It went on to assert that schools have flexibility "to take proactive steps, in a manner consistent with principles articulated in Supreme Court opinions, to meet this compelling interest".

Vanita Gupta, who oversaw the civil rights division at the U.S. Department of Justice under Obama, issued a statement saying the administration was failing in its duty to ensure the well being of all students.

The Supreme Court has been generally accepting of considering race in admissions decisions to achieve diversity.

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