American group hails rescinding of Obama-era admission guidelines
American group hails rescinding of Obama-era admission guidelines
Trump Administration to Rescind Obama Guidelines on Race in College Admissions
04 July, 2018, 16:15
The guidelines - put in place during the Obama administration in 2011 and 2016 - laid out legal recommendations that Trump officials argue "mislead schools to believe that legal forms of affirmative action are simpler to achieve than the law allows", the paper reported.
The withdrawal of the Obama-era guidance constitutes a return to the George W. Bush-era policy discouraging affirmative action programs and instead encouraging the use of race-neutral alternatives, like percentage plans and economic diversity programs.
Most recently, in 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the practice in a 4-3 decision, but, in his opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy opened it to future legal challenges when he required schools to continually reevaluate affirmative action policies, weighing them against "positive and negative" effects.
The rollback of guidelines comes as Harvard University is being sued over its admissions practices by a group claiming it discriminates against Asian-American applicants.
Though such guidance doesn't have the force of law, schools could presumably use it to defend themselves against lawsuits over admission policies. And the department on Tuesday rescinded policy guidelines on the issue by the education department's civil right section. Most were from the Obama era. School officials who keep their admissions policies intact would do so knowing that they could face a Justice Department investigation or lawsuit, or lose federal funding from the Education Department...
Wood added: "The Departments of Education and Justice justify the new "guidance" as an explanation of how colleges and universities can expand the use of race without running afoul of federal law".
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"When issuing regulations, federal agencies must abide by constitutional principles and follow the rules set forth by Congress and the President", Mr. Sessions said in a statement.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the 24 documents many of which gave advice to schools on how to deal with Supreme Court decisions on race and admissions "were unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper". They tell universities and colleges that it is acceptable to use race as a tool to achieve diversity.
Harvard says its admissions policies comply with USA laws and that it has worked to boost financial aid to ensure economic, as well as racial, diversity in its classes.
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. In 2007, the high court sharply limited how school districts could use race in enrollment.The ruling struck down race-based policies in Seattle and Louisville.
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"Yet again we see that this administration's goal and vision for "Making America Great Again" is to reduce the role of the state in making sure our society prizes diversity and inclusion", Richmond said in a statement.
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