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Trump Administration Rescinds Obama-Era Guidance That Encouraged Schools to Consider Race in Admissions

Good riddance.

DeVosOliver Contreras/Sipa USA/NewscomPresident Donald Trump's Justice Department plans to roll back a pair of Obama-era affirmative action decrees that pushed colleges to consider race as a factor in admissions.

The new guidance, which discourages race-based admissions, will essentially reconstitute the approach the federal government took under George W. Bush. The Bush administration had sternly reminded schools that they could consider race in admissions only if they had absolutely no other method of achieving diverse classrooms. This was consistent with Supreme Court precedent that has permitted affirmative action but narrowly limited its use.

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. This wasn't necssarily at odds with Court precedent, but it very well could have sent a message to schools that diversity at all costs was the top priority.

The Trump administration's decision was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The Justice Department—which had been tasked with "re-evaluating" past policies that were considered legally suspect, according to The New York Times—is taking the lead here, though the decision impacts the Education Department. A spokesperson for the Education Department has confirmed to me that the administration is returning to the Bush-era position, per the new guidance.

In a statement to Reason, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said,"the Supreme Court has determined what affirmative action policies are constitutional, and the Court's written decisions are the best guide for navigating this complex issue. Schools should continue to offer equal opportunities for all students while abiding by the law."

Progressives will see this move as a deliberate attempt to weaken affirmative action at a time when race-based admissions policies are coming under serious scrutiny. Asian students who say they were denied admission to Harvard because its policies discriminate against them on the basis of skin color have sued the university. That lawsuit recently forced Harvard to pull back the curtain with respect to its admissions information, revealing that officials consistently underrated Asian applicants on subjective criteria like "personality," even though Asians tend to outperform other applicants in virtually every respect.

The Harvard lawsuit is really just making an uncomfortable truth more obvious: When admissions officials discriminate in favor of one racial group, they must discriminate against other racial groups. This is wrong and legally suspect. It's an issue a post-Kennedy Supreme Court should certainly revisit. In the meantime, the Justice and Education departments deserve commendation for distancing themselves from a policy that is racially discriminatory to its core. Good riddance.

Update: DeVos's statement has been added to this post.

Photo Credit: Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA/Newscom

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  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Good.

    Score one for The Dotard.

  • Don't look at me.||

    PB's admission to winning.

  • Rock Lobster||

    "Dotard?" PB is obviously a Kim Jong Il sock.

  • Rock Lobster||

    My mistake. I was referring to the current model.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    HOLY SHIT!! Butthole admitted Trump did something great?

  • ||

    My name is SHERRY WALJER from USA Massachusetts, i want to testify to the general public how my relationship was restored back by the great power's of Dr Larry after three months of loneliness, my ex-lover called me after my contact with Dr Larry that he want us to come back and start a good home, now we are happily together again as lovers. All thanks to Dr Larry who did a love spell for me for my ex lover to return home. I will keep sharing this until people who also need help see this for his wonderful help. You can contact him on his via email assurancesolutionhome@gmail.com or whatsapp him on +1(424)-261-8520.
    https://assurancesolutionhome.blogspot.com

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Cue the leftists who will start shrieking that's it's racist not to consider race!

  • Sevo||

    "Cue the leftists who will start shrieking that's it's racist not to consider race!"

    This WILL happen and those who claim Trump is a racist for removing any consideration of race from the decision will do so, and will do so without one shred of self-awareness.

  • BambiB||

    Libtards are master of irony. Not that they GET it, but they sure know how to manufacture it.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    This illegitimate administration is doing so many unconscionable things, it's hard to keep track of them all. First it's tearing children out of their parents' arms. Then it's threatening to reverse Roe v. Wade, possibly the most well-reasoned Supreme Court decision of the past half century. Now it's trying to drastically reduce the number of black and brown bodies in higher education? Absolutely disgusting.

    Again I urge all libertarians to contact your Senators and convince them to prevent any more right-wing extremists from joining the Supreme Court. Orange Hitler wants to replace Kennedy with someone who thinks using race in college admissions would amount to "reverse discrimination." We cannot let that happen.

    #LibertariansForAffirmativeAction
    #(IncludingAtPublicColleges)

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Hold on. I thought you were aping the Reason writers. They are solidly anti-race quota.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I've never hesitated to disagree with Reason writers when I think they're on the wrong side of history. I have often said we libertarians should join with progressives in advocating common sense gun safety legislation, for example. Which means I dispute some of the stuff Doherty and Sullum write.

  • jay||

    You had me until you said, possibly the most well-reasoned supreme court decision...

  • Nardz||

    Solid A+

    One, the nickname Orange Hitler is hilarious.
    Two, using a parenthetical # is possibly the most woke move I've ever seen

  • Presskh||

    So, discriminating against a race or races for school admission purposes is not racist? How stupid can you be? It is true that Asians, as a group, outscore whites, blacks, and Latinos on most college and post-graduate entrance exams. I say good for them - it's time for other racial groups to raise their game, instead of punishing Asians for excelling. I'm considered white, BTW.

  • LamarPye||

    Did I toke too early, is your comment satire?

  • Sevo||

    Sorta.

  • ||

    Retard

  • damikesc||

    The schools won't stop. Rescinding "Dear Colleague" hasn't ended the kangaroo courts for "campus rape", after all.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Agree. Indeed, it subjectively seems worse now.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    However, it does deprive them of a defense if they're later sued for civil right violations.

  • Rhywun||

    Could help the lawsuits along maybe? I dunno.

  • damikesc||

    I'd hope so...but they have time to indoctrinate the idiots who go there further.

  • Echo Chamber||

    The edit/undo of Obama's legacy continues.
    Is there a site that tracks the pct complete of this effort?
    What's next on the list to go?

  • Napoleon Bonaparte||

    Those hideous portraits of him and his wife might make a good start.

  • Rat on a train||

    You don't like "Sparks in the Garden"?

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    That latter made me almost lose my perpetual boner

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Ending the War in Afghanistan, please. Wipes out Obama and Bush's legacies.

  • Flinch||

    Could be complicated - Afganistan needs a replacement economy for the opium trade. Raising goats just isn't going to get the job done. There's a long line of disparate gangsters [including some of FDR's family] going back centuries that will go into overdrive trying to screw up real reforms there for the quick buck. Short term... a bunch of production would move to Mexico, which will further their corruption [and our border] problems I expect.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Getting rid of the TPP free trade agreement and the Iran no nuke deal were major fuckups by the Dotard.

  • damikesc||

    How adorable. Thinking the Iran deal actually did anything besides give them money.

    And you call others dumb...

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No one "gave" Iran a dime, you retard. That was their money unfrozen.

  • Nardz||

    You mean the Shah's money.
    Obama gave them the Shah's money

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Indeed - it never belonged to "them" in the first place.

  • Eddy||

    It was Iran's money, but victims of Iranian-backed terrorism should have had first dibs on the money - then what was left over could have been given back to Iran.

  • Eddy||

    ...in a coin purse.

  • Flinch||

    There's news: we know where the cash came from that Kerry flew in? Do tell...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    And persia owed americans billions in damages for seizing our embassy and staff.

    Obama is a traitor and will go down as one of the worst presidents of all time for it.

  • Moo Cow||

    The agreement between Iran and the Reagan administration precluded any compensation, and efforts to collect were unsuccessful because of the terms of the deal.

    They were each paid $4.4 million eventually funded by fines collected from companies accused of evading sanctions.

  • Presskh||

    Funny that $1.7B had to be in cash and how Obama had to go around US banks to get the cash. There needs to be a special counsel appointed to investigate what happened to this cash. Besides funding Iran's nuclear program and sponsoring terrorist cells around the globe, I would be willing to bet that a sizeable chunk of change ended up in hidden foreign accounts set up for Obama and Hillary. That's why there were two cash drops - the second drop was contingent on part of the first drop being deposited in these accounts. Obama and Hillary need to be cell mates for their treasonous activities.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It was part of the unwritten part of the TARP bailouts for banks.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Ok, so PB, you actually thought it was a good move to give a state sponsor of worldwide terror $150 billion in liquid funds (When their entire GDP is only around $400 billion), take the trade sanctions off, and then set up an inspection deal that leaves Iran functionally unaccountable?

    But please PB, don't take my word for it, not when we have one of your masters, Chuck Schumer, who voted against it.........

    http://www.politifact.com/new-.....-now-supp/

  • ||

    If obama legacy is undermined by removing racist policys that would never be validated anywhere outside the insane liberal us then so be it.

  • Flinch||

    The stupid garden Michelle planted would be a fine add to the list: it really is a visual assault. That reminds me... have we stopped serving cardboard like entree's to students via the school lunch program yet? I say end the whole damn program, citing the tenth amendment. 75% of anything good goes out the back door to cafeteria workers homes and extended families anyway - like most federal programs, it's a clearinghouse for fraud.

  • Longtobefree||

    Pen and phone, meet whiteout and twitter.

  • Ecoli||

    Quite good!

    I am embarrassed that nobody else complimented you.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It is good. Jus because a reply is not forthcoming does not a bad comment make.

  • Iheartskeet||

    So much #winning.

    As good as this is, we need far more radical change in higher ed. We need to simply cease all federal loans for education, as the list of distortions and craziness this is fostering won't be undone with this. THAT would be decisive. This is merely a flesh wound. Not even that really.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Crashing college prices would be great. It will also get rid of those worthless gender and ethnic studies programs that just breed Marxist radicals by the thousands.

  • Microaggressor||

    Trump demonstrating how racist he is yet again by proving he doesn't believe minorities are inferiors who need the paternalistic helping hand of whitey to make it in life.

  • lulz farmer||

    It was never about that though, it was just about pushing whites out--especially white men-as a social engineering program to cause certain social outcomes. Obviously in a pure a meritocracy you are going to see disparities in outcome because racial groups aren't equal in ability but there's no need to "correct" this.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Nope. If anyone wants to go to college who can't get in, then they either need tos ten up their game, or figure something else out.

  • Rebel Scum||

    The new guidance, which discourages race-based admissions

    It's totally racist to not consider someone's skin pigment in judging whether or not to admit them.

  • Rock Lobster||

    About damned time. Affirmative action is an idea that has long passed its sell-by date. There is no such thing as "good" racial bias. Picking and choosing the "good" kind of discrimination is sort of like trying to pick the peanuts out of a turd. No matter how you parse its ingredients, it's all shit.

  • BYODB||


    The Harvard lawsuit is really just making an uncomfortable truth more obvious: When admissions officials discriminate in favor of one racial group, they must discriminate against other racial groups. This is wrong and legally suspect. It's an issue a post-Kennedy Supreme Court should certainly revisit. In the meantime, the Justice and Education departments deserve commendation for distancing themselves from a policy that is racially discriminatory to its core. Good riddance.


    Good on you Robby, and well said. You'll hear no complaint from me today!

  • JP88||

    I cannot wait to read Justice Thomas's opinion when SCOTUS officially rules race based admissions Unconstitutional.

    His dissent in Gruber v. Bollinger is inspirational.

  • Eddy||

    "Progressives will see this move as a deliberate attempt to weaken affirmative action at a time when race-based admissions policies are coming under serious scrutiny."

    And they'll almost certainly be right.

  • AFSlade||

    "Trump Administration Rescinds Obama-Era Guidance That Encouraged Schools to Consider Race in Admissions..."

    ...Women and minorities hit hardest!!

    /sarc

    Race-based/discrimination-based admissions might possibly be the most paternalistic, insidious, and harmful thing ever done to minorities. If you're a minority/woman and get admitted, either (a) you weren't able to get in on academic merit, so now you're there as a quota and it's painfully obvious to everyone in short order. All it does is generate resentment by those who know they should have been admitted over you and those in your classes; or (b) you're there on your own merit, but given the presence of (a) above, no one knows that just by looking at you and therefore (wrongly, but understandably) is left wondering if you're a quota, thus undermining deserving minority/female candidates for their entire academic & professional career.

    Everyone who meets them thinks, "I wonder if this guy/gal is really deserving..." The only people who wind up knowing for certain are those who have specific interactions that refute the stereotype provided by (a). Solid work by both the Progressives and the Supreme Court in fucking things up yet again.

    And how funny is it that Trump would be the one to rescind it. He just does not give a FUCK what the Leftists think. I hate to say it as a Johnson voter, but no way GayJay would have had the stones to do half of what Trump has done.

  • sparkstable||

    Agreed. I would have happily voted for Trump as simply a vote against Satan herself. But I would have always felt sick about it (like I do about voting McCain over Obama... ugh). But given all the things he's done.... it's hard not to say to myself "Trump 2020??". Granted... there is a lot to dislike policywise and personally, but it's getting harder to say those outweigh the unexpected winning.

  • Microaggressor||

    I hate to say it as a Johnson voter, but no way GayJay would have had the stones to do half of what Trump has done.

    Been thinking the same thing.

  • Sevo||

    "I hate to say it as a Johnson voter, but no way GayJay would have had the stones to do half of what Trump has done."
    While he's not aggressive, he also would have also had zero 'party' support; there ain't no Libertarian members of Congress. So stones alone prolly wouldn't get what Trump has got us.
    Regardless, if Trump keeps dancing 3 steps forward to one step back, I'd end up voting for him. He's gotten more done from a libertarian perspective than the last 5 POTUS put together, and I'd hate to think of where we'd be now if the hag had been elected.

  • Flinch||

    Trump tipped his hat at marijuana legalization in the past. For now, the fossil known as Sessions might be the only thing standing in the way, and he's dug in deep/not likely to budge. I give it a 75% chance it receives action in a second term since Canada is putting their chapter of prohibition to rest: the public pressure will continue to grow going into 2020. I'm looking forward to having a new AG - I'm about tired of asking "where's waldo?"

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Indeed. Fuck drug prohibition. A good AG will finally start putting all those corrupt democrats (pretty much the entire leadership) in prison for their many, many crimes.

  • Rockabilly||

    Hahahahaha

    Commie prog meltdown!!!

    Hahahahahhhaaa

  • Ecoli||

    MAMA!

    Make America Mayonnaise Again!

  • Dave Boz||

    As if this will make the slightest difference. Schools discriminate based on race, they have for a long time, and they will continue to do so. The so-called "Obama guidance" simply affirmed what they were already doing. They want to discriminate based on race, and they'll do so pretty much with impunity. Who's gonna stop them? You and your "guidance" and which army?

  • Sevo||

    Perhaps SCOTUS with a couple of new justices.

  • Flinch||

    It won't be this congress [Ryan is a putz], but... most colleges fold if grants and federal loans go away. If they get blocked from federal money on account of racist admittance practices, no army is needed: insolvancy will take care of the rest.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Merit, school seat availability, and visa ability to attend school are the only acceptable discrimination for public schools.

    End taxpayer funding and then discriminate away.

  • Whorton||

    "When admissions officials discriminate in favor of one racial group, they must discriminate against other racial groups."

    Well said, succinct and pithy without being pushy.

  • Sevo||

    "Racism is racist"
    Just another way of saying it.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Racism is okay when the "right" people (the not-white-ones) are espousing it. In fact, then it isn't racism at all.

    Because that's just un-possible.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Racism is okay when the "right" people (the not-white-ones) are espousing it. In fact, then it isn't racism at all.

    Because that's just un-possible.

  • Rock Lobster||

    The squirrels concur.

  • Rock Lobster||

    The squirrels concur.

  • maddarter||

    "When admissions officials discriminate in favor of one racial group, they must discriminate against other racial groups. This is wrong and legally suspect."

    There's this blog called Hit and Run where a number of writers say that private businesses should be able to serve whoever they want.

  • MJBinAL||

    As they should .... PRIVATE BUSINESS' is the key here. Most universities are either outright public, or are stealth public. The stealth public ones are allegedly private, but operate almost entirely by actively selling students government loans. Loans where the checks come made out jointly to the student and to ... Harvard for example.
    .
    Easy to correct this problem, simply make schools that do not implement color, race, and sex blind admissions inelegible to recieve federal student loans. Harvard (Haa' vaad) has every right to discriminate ... as a private business using private money.
    .
    I suspect that Haa'vaad would discover the virtues of color, race, and sex blind admissions pretty quickly rather than have to operate as a truly private institution.

  • Rich||

    When admissions officials discriminate in favor of one racial group, they must discriminate against other racial groups.

    Oh, very well. Issue an edict that from now on all discrimination is to be non-zero-sum. We can call it the "Rising Tide Floats All Boats" Act.

  • lulz farmer||

    The problem is of course that all of the commissars installed in these places will still do it informally and they're trained to do so.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The Bush administration had sternly reminded schools that they could consider race in admissions only if they had absolutely no other method of achieving diverse classrooms."

    Translation:
    "You can be overtly racist only if your attempt at covert racism fails"

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    How can notions like "diversity as a compelling state interest" not just be laughed at until the purveyors meekly slink away. WTF is wrong with people?

    Non-diversity is pretty much impossible to achieve when you are talking about living things. My siblings are about as unlike me and each other as can be.

    Skin color is a terrible measure of diversity. Grrr...

  • LifeStrategies||

    As far as Reason is concerned, President Trump can do nothing right and deserves no approbation.

    Still no commendation of President Trump even in this approval of his Education Secretary's policies.

  • ||

    My name is SHERRY WALJER from USA Massachusetts, i want to testify to the general public how my relationship was restored back by the great power's of Dr Larry after three months of loneliness, my ex-lover called me after my contact with Dr Larry that he want us to come back and start a good home, now we are happily together again as lovers. All thanks to Dr Larry who did a love spell for me for my ex lover to return home. I will keep sharing this until people who also need help see this for his wonderful help. You can contact him on his via email assurancesolutionhome@gmail.com or whatsapp him on +1(424)-261-8520.
    https://assurancesolutionhome.blogspot.com

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