Texas Tech University’s medical school will stop considering race in its admissions process, the latest effort by the Trump administration to curb affirmative action in colleges.
The decision means the school will not consider race or nationality as a factor in its admissions process.
Texas Tech seemed ready to argue that it wasn’t violating federal laws, but acquiesced to the Education Department’s demands to focus on educating future healthcare students, according to a letter from the university to the Education Department.
As part of the agreement, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, the school of medicine agreed to drop the use of race in its admission process and to issue a message to staff saying as much. It will also be required to document to the department’s Office of Civil Rights that it has ceased race-based admissions.
The Office of Civil Rights started its investigation into the university’s admission practices in 2005 following a complaint raised by Roger Clegg, the president and general counsel for the Center of Equal Opportunity, a group opposed to considering race in the admissions process.
Clegg wrote in The National Review on Tuesday that the move “shows again that the Trump administration is serious about enforcing the civil-rights laws so that they forbid discrimination against all racial and ethnic groups, and will not turn a blind eye toward politically correct racial discrimination in the way the Obama administration did.”
In 2018, the U.S. departments of Education and Justice rolled back a set of Obama-era guidelines that encouraged higher education administrators to factor in applicants’ race during the admissions process. Then attorney General Jeff Sessions called the guidance “outdated, inconsistent . . . or otherwise improper.”
In 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the ability of colleges to consider race during the admissions process, but challenges to affirmative action have remained consistent.
Most recently, a federal court in Massachusetts is considering a case between Students for Fair Admissions and Harvard University. The latter alleges the elite university uses admissions practices that are unfair to Asian Americans, and advocates against using race during the admission process. Harvard has argued its practices don’t discriminate against “any applicant from any group.” The Trump administration has sided with Students for Fair Admissions.
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