Trump revokes Obama guidance on race in school admissions

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

But Barack Obama's administration, in 2011 and 2016, issued recommendations that encouraged schools to think of diversity as a compelling state interest and to embrace race-based admissions as a tool to achieve it.

The Trump administration's plan would scrap the existing policies and encourage schools not to consider race at all.

The Supreme Court has weighed the issue of affirmative action several times, most recently reaffirming it in 2016 but leaving an opening for future legal challenges.

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.

Anurima Bargava, who led civil rights enforcement in schools for the Justice Department during Obama's presidency, disagreed with that assessment, saying the documents simply offered guidelines to schools looking to continue using affirmative action legally.

The Trump administration is advising schools to avoid using race in admissions decisions.

The Education and Justice departments pulled seven Obama-era guidances that laid out how schools could voluntarily promote diversity through admissions and school assignment. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also has withdrawn Obama-era guidance that instructed schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity and spelled out how schools should investigate sexual assault.

"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. However, the action does suggest that the federal government will be more willing to investigate complaints by applicants that they were denied entrance to a particular college due to their race, experts said.

The new Trump policies are "good news", Clegg told Breitbart News in an interview June 3. "The rescission of this guidance does not overrule forty years of precedent that affirms the constitutionality of a university's limited use of race in college admissions". He noted that administrative guidance does not carry the legal weight of court rulings or statutes enacted by Congress. "I hope when it gets to the Supreme Court, we'll have a five-justice majority to put an end to this practice altogether", he asserts. It is expected to go to trial in October.

Many have not shied away from expressing their deep disappointment over the Trump administration's Tuesday decision.

But McDonough said the administration's action could have a "chilling effect" on colleges as they review their admission methods.

Opponents of affirmative action said they were heartened by the Trump administration's move.

"This guidance restated the law and our national commitment to diversity". The opinion, written by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, granted affirmative action policies a narrow victory by permitting race to be among the factors considered in the college admission process.