Trump to urge colleges to ignore race in admissions

Donald Trump and Barack Obama

The Trump administration will end a set of Obama-era policies and guidelines that aimed to promote diversity on university campuses by encouraging the use of race in college admissions, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The Trump administration will argue that the recommendations outlined during Obama's term go beyond legal limits and that guidelines provided to schools for boosting minority students are legally misleading, the Journal reported.

Anurima Bhargava, the Obama-era head of civil rights enforcement in schools for the Justice Department, suggested that enforcing a racially neutral policy would influence malpractice.

Mother Jones: What was the original intent of the guidances that the Trump administration rescinded today?

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"This is a triumphant moment for Asian American communities", the AACE said, adding this timely update signifies a culmination of much-needed government actions to revamp misguided policies that facilitated widespread abuses of race-based affirmative action in higher education.

The Obama administration believed that students benefit from being surrounded by diverse classmates, so in 2011, the administration offered schools a potential road map to establishing affirmative action policies that could withstand legal scrutiny.

Even with Kennedy on the court, affirmative action faced an uncertain future.

The Trump administration is advising schools to avoid using race in admissions decisions. The Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) had filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education against the Harvard University's discriminatory treatment of Asian-American applicants in admissions. Separately, the Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation of Harvard admissions.

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Clegg, however, says when skin color and national origin are factors in deciding where a student can attend school - a policy based on discrimination is, in fact, in effect.

"This is not a change in the law, this is not congressional action or a ruling from the Supreme Court", he said. If you're going to use race, it has to be one of many factors, part of a holistic review of a student's application.

Revoking the Obama-era guidance on affirmative action could affect elementary and secondary schools that have grappled with racial imbalances.

"We're now looking at a post-Kennedy Supreme Court".

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The reversal doesn't change current US law on affirmative action and doesn't affect how schools choose to operate within the confines of current Supreme Court precedent, but changes guidelines to more closely resemble a Bush-era document encouraging "race-neutral" methods of admitting students to elementary and secondary schools. That guidance also cautioned school officials that they should be careful when using race and that they could do so only in limited circumstances. The new case, particularly with the recent retirement announcement of Justice Kennedy, puts that ruling in danger. But she said it will have no impact on laws that govern school integration and admissions, nor will it affect the hundreds of schools under desegregation orders.

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