Another Obama-era mandate was just slapped down by the Trump administration, one which sought to ensure diversity in the college admission process.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the reversal will ask institutions of higher learning to ignore race on college applications one that directly links to the broader topic of affirmative action. The move restores a Bush administration policy which “strongly encourages the use of race-neutral methods” for admission to colleges, secondary schools and elementary schools.
Last year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the Justice Department to review and eliminate polices on the books that expanded past what the constitution and Supreme Court legally required. on Tuesday as a result, the Justice Department rescinded seven policy guidances from the Education Department’s civil rights division.
In 2011, Obama officials presented colleges and universities with guidance to help maintain a broader, diverse student body. Many conservatives disagreed with the plan as they said it operated outside of the legal scope of the administration’s power.
The measure comes during a lawsuit against Harvard University where a group of Asian students claim they were denied entry to maintain slots for other races. The group is being pushed by the Project on Fair Representation, a conservative tank which also backed Abigail Fisher, a white woman who took her case to the Supreme Court over her application denial from the University of Texas at Austin, the New York Times writes. Fisher later lost the case in 2016.
But Tuesday’s decision could also have a detrimental effect when it comes to Black women–in the past 42 years, Black women have become the most educated group in the United States. Even as several studies also show that in light of the rise, Black households still struggle with obtaining wealth with or without a college education.
With the impending departure of Supreme Court Justice Andrew Kennedy, the long swing vote, many are questioning the status of affirmative action if Kennedy is replaced with a Justice with stronger conservative values.
Several civil rights groups have denounced the decision on social media and in statements to the press.