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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is rescinding Obama-era guidance that encouraged schools to take a student’s race into account in order to promote diversity in admissions, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

The shift would give schools and universities the federal government’s blessing to take a race-neutral approach to the students they consider for admission.

The action comes amid a high-profile court fight over admission at Harvard University as well as Supreme Court turnover expected to produce a more critical eye toward schools’ affirmative action policies.

The high court’s most recent significant ruling on the subject bolstered colleges’ use of race among many factors in the college admission process. But the opinion’s author, Anthony Kennedy, announced his resignation last week, giving President Donald Trump a chance to replace him with a justice who will be more reliably skeptical of affirmative action.

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 speak on the record.

The new policy would depart from the stance taken by the Obama administration, which in a 2011 policy document, the administration said schools have a “compelling interest” in ensuring a diverse student body, and that while race should not be the primary factor in an admission decision, schools could lawfully consider it in the interest of achieving diversity.

“Institutions are not required to implement race-neutral approaches if, in their judgment, the approaches would be unworkable,” the guidance said. “In some cases, race-neutral approaches will be unworkable because they will be ineffective to achieve the diversity the institution seeks.”

The administration issued a similar guidance document in 2016 aimed at giving schools a framework for “considering race to further the compelling interests in achieving diversity and avoiding racial isolation.”

The Obama approach replaced Bush-era policy from a decade earlier that discouraged affirmative action programs and instead encouraged the use of race-neutral alternatives, like percentage plans and economic diversity programs.

The Trump administration signaled it planned to reinstate the Bush administration’s philosophy. 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 Justice Department in the Trump administration has sided with Asian-American plaintiffs suing Harvard University who argue that the school unlawfully limits how many of Asian students are admitted.

Students for Fair Admissions, the group suing Harvard, is led by Ed Blum, a white legal strategist who also helped white student Abigail Fisher sue the University of Texas for alleged discrimination in a case that went to the Supreme Court. Blum said Tuesday that the organization “welcomes any governmental actions that will eliminate racial classifications and preferences in college admissions.”

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 condemn the Department of Education’s politically motivated attack on affirmative action and deliberate attempt to discourage colleges and universities from pursuing racial diversity at our nation’s colleges and universities,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement.

In 2016, the Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Kennedy, granted affirmative action policies a narrow victory by permitting race to be among the factors considered in the college admission process.

Kennedy wrote that the University of Texas’ admission plan was in line with past court decisions that allowed for the consideration of race to promote diversity on college campuses.

The ruling bitterly disappointed conservatives who thought that Kennedy would be part of a Supreme Court majority to outlaw affirmative action in education. Justice Antonin Scalia died after the court heard arguments in the case but before the decision was handed down.

The new affirmative action guidance could add to an already contentious fight over the next Supreme Court justice. With Trump expected to announce his nominee next week, the issue should be a central part of any confirmation process, said Howard University School of Law Dean Danielle Holley-Walker.

She called the new guidance “highly unfortunate and counterproductive” and said the decision is another indication that the Justice Department, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is likely to be fairly aggressive toward schools that do continue to factor in race in admissions decisions.

“People have been talking about precedent in regard to Roe. v. Wade” — the landmark 1973 ruling affirming a woman’s right to abortion — “but it’s important to remember that affirmative action has been a precedent for the past 40 years,” she said. “This is a clear attack on precedent. Any Supreme Court nominee needs to be asked if they support precedent related to affirmative action.”

Eight states already prohibit the use of race in public college admissions: Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the move.

Associated Press writers Mark Sherman and Jesse Holland in Washington, Collin Binkley in Boston and National Writer Errin Haines Whack in Philadelphia contributed to this report.




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2 thoughts on “Trump To Rescind Obama Guidance On Affirmative Action

  1. tedgravely on said:

    Black people could care less about Affirmative Action. All black people need is fair and non discriminatory polices. We created our own Universities because we couldn’t attend white institutions. Black university graduates were thriving and soaring without relying on the conniving white man. The old guard of MLK, Thurgood, Barbara Jordan, etc…..should have qualified for any school in this nation. However, you racist fools and hand puppets sought to keep them down. Still they soared! Black people are always destroying the ridiculous myths about white academic and athletic superiority. Dim-witted racists really believe we need their hand outs. Please get rid of welfare and Affirmative Action for “all.” Whites will suffer and the poor whites will riot and do more meth. However, Affirmative Action for white people is here to stay. Coons, bots, and the little d white man are all “yessiree” for those polices. The biggest race based policy is legacy admissions. White people will not touch that advantage. Your kid could be dumb as a box of rocks – have white skin because their white parents went to school there – class ranking, and standardized test scores be damned- they will be admitted. Not enough room or time in the day to go into the biggest winner of Affirmative Action – the white woman. Look, we will always rise to the top – hence black people. Blacks aren’t getting “free rides” to these institutions. Studies consistently show that black students graduate with a higher college loan debt than white students. Please do away with all Affirmative Action. Please. Do away with Legacy based Affirmative Action at the Military Academies. Maybe we will win another war. White General after white general for years have led our men and women into Iraq and Afghanistan. When can we declare victory and bring them home? Majority of leaders in the military are white and no one is holding them accountable for losing and sucking the nation’s resources. GEN (R) Colin Powell led us in and out of the first Gulf War. Fire these affirmative action white generals. White people twist Affirmative Action like it’s the only reason why blacks can do anything. For the black people that aren’t fooled – you know the trickery and evil of the white jealous man. History tells us that we do our best building black Wall Street, made ourselves self sufficient like in Rosewood until what – the evil white jealous man (white woman lie) strikes yet again. You see the same thing now with #45. We had how many white Presidents (quick math – racists)? However, #45 feels so inadequate next to #44 – its an obsession. A jealous white person is the most dangerous animal on earth. Blacks are natural leaders – without being taught or provided handouts or the cheat sheet. Most white people and the modern day Stepin Fetchin’s want us to rely on people with white skin. When we refuse, they undermine and create discriminatory polices that “Black People” will always overcome and Be Best!! Black people don’t need affirmative action – white people do!

  2. yep end the policy that gives special privileges to these b-easts and accepts them based on skin color alone. We already know, and this has been proven in countless studies and iq tests, that blacks have the lowest iq’s and very few will be able to compete with whites and Asians. Spin it any way you like blackstars the truth is here.

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