WASHINGTON D.C. (News4Utah)- The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Education Department say the federal government will no longer encourage schools to use race as a factor in the admissions process. Opponents say the decision is a setback while supporters say colleges and universities should focus on race-neutral standards.
Supporters say it’s time for the college admission process to be race-blind.
African American leadership activist Horace Cooper says the Trump administration rightly rescinded what he calls “outdated Obama-era affirmative action guidelines”.
“It’s the 21st Century! I am thrilled to see that schools are not being told that they should rely on the race of application to determine who gets into schools or not, ” he said.
But Kristen Clarke of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights says it’s a major setback.
“Rolling back this guidance now sends a dangerous message to schools that this administration doesn’t value diversity and they shouldn’t either.”The Justice Department’s decision does not change current laws on racial discrimination. But it does shift the focus away from affirmative action to race-neutral standards.
Cooper says there are other ways to promote diversity on campus.
“If you are really interested in making sure that the kinds of students come from all walks of life. It means that schools and universities are going to have to do some better recruiting.”
But Clarke believes race should remain a key part of the equation.
“We still need race-conscious admissions policies,” she said.
Clarke says the government should stay in the business of actively protecting diversity in higher education.