According to an internal document obtained by The New York Times, the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division is investigating suing colleges and universities over affirmative actions policies within their admissions programs.
The lawsuit will be primarily based on the fact that the department believes the policies may discriminate against prospective white students.
The memo mentions how the department led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seeking lawyers to work on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
In order to ensure white students do not feel as if they are at a disadvantage, the DOJ believes that the policy should perhaps be removed.
The head of the Center for Equal Opportunity, Roger Clegg, and former official in the civil rights division during the Ronald Reagan and George Bush (the first) administrations stated the following in favor of the announcement:
"The civil rights laws were deliberately written to protect everyone from discrimination, and it is frequently the case that not only are whites discriminated against now but frequently Asian Americans are as well."
Clegg suggested that the project would reduce college dropout rates and that it could prove that the admissions offices put too much emphasis on accepting black applicants.
The president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Kristen Clarke, however, does not agree with Clegg or the DOJ plan.
“This is deeply disturbing,” she said. “It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses.”
She stated that the new plan is "misaligned with the division’s longstanding priorities."
Clarke, in criticizing the DOJ's efforts, explained that affirmative action was “created and launched to deal with the unique problem of discrimination faced by our nation’s most oppressed minority groups."
A spokesperson for the department, Devin O'Malley, told the Times, “The Department of Justice does not discuss personnel matters, so we’ll decline comment."