Trump to revoke Obama-era guidelines on race in college admissions

Donald Trump and Barack Obama

The Trump administration plans to rescind some of the guidelines set by the Obama administration regarding the use of race in college admissions, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

And attorney general Sessions has made his distaste for affirmative action manifest, vowing to bring lawsuits against any universities that adopt admissions policies that unduly advantage African-American applicants.

The Supreme Court in 2016 gave affirmative action policies a narrow victory in 2016 by upholding a University of Texas program that takes into account race in deciding whom to admit.

"It's so much harder to get into Harvard and other selective institutions if you are Asian than if you are white - which is much harder if you are Hispanic or black", Ilya Shapiro with the Cato Institute said. But the opinion's author, Justice Anthony Kennedy, announced his retirement last week, giving President Donald Trump a chance to replace him with a judge who may be more reliably skeptical of admissions programs that take race and ethnicity into account.

The Trump administration is advising schools to avoid using race in admissions decisions. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also has withdrawn Obama-era guidance that instructed schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity and spelled out how schools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. The Departments of Justice and Education provided schools and universities with detailed guidance on how they could pursue affirmative action in admissions without running afoul of the judiciary. 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 case is likely to go to trial this fall and may ultimately be decided years from now by the US Supreme Court.

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And Justin Clark, the director of the Office of Public Liaison, will oversee White House coordination with outside groups. Trump is building up anticipation for the announcement, by tweets, public speeches and in interactions with the media.

Across the country Tuesday the news received mixed reviews.

"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.

The guidance reversed Tuesday provided examples of different educational contexts within which institutions could permissibly consider race and answered questions about how to interpret Supreme Court decisions.

None of the three directives have any legal bearing on what colleges and universities may or may not choose to do with regards to affirmative action in admissions. In a statement, the school called the lawsuit an attack on its ability to consider race in admissions, which it says is necessary to assemble a diverse mix of students.

The Justice Department in the Trump administration had already signaled its concern about the use of race in admissions decisions.

"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. "President Trump has indicated he intends to appoint a nominee to the Supreme Court who will declare that affirmative action is unconstitutional in our schools".

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