The Trump administration has rolled back Obama-era guidelines encouraging institutions of higher learning to take race into account when deciding who to admit. However, several universities have said they'll be sticking with the Obama-era affirmative action rules, regardless of what Trump says.
The schools, including five Ivy League institutions, told The Huffington Post they plan to continue factoring race in admissions despite possible retaliation from the government. By defying the administration, the schools risk losing federal funding from the Department of Education, federal lawsuits and federal investigations.
The Trump administration announced plans to rescind 24 documents used to ensure universities maintain diverse student bodies on July 3.
Harvard University, one of the schools that announced it will stick to the Obama-era guidelines, is already in the middle of a lawsuit regarding race in admissions. The school has been accused of discriminating against Asian American applicants in favor of other minorities, The New York Times reports.
Despite this, Harvard issued a strong statement touting the importance of affirmative action: “Harvard will continue to vigorously defend its right, and that of all colleges and universities, to consider race as one factor among many in college admissions, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court for more than 40 years.”
Brown University released a similar statement:“Through our race-conscious admission practices, Brown assembles the diverse range of perspectives and experiences essential for a learning and research community that prepares students to thrive in a complex and changing world.”
In its statement, Dartmouth argued "the benefits of diversity in education are irrefutable," and mirrored Harvard in citing the Supreme Court's past rulings on integration. "Affirmative action is a proven method of promoting diversity on our campus and is supported by decades of American case law. Over the past 40 years, the Supreme Court has repeatedly defended the right of colleges and universities to invoke diversity as a compelling educational interest supporting the consideration of race as one of many factors during a holistic admissions process.”
Other schools that plan to keep using race as a factor in their admissions decision include the College of William and Mary, Rice University, Emory University, Tufts University and Middlebury College.
In a letter to SUNY and CUNY trustees, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said schools in his state will keep the Obama guidelines as well.
“The new federal action should have no bearing on admission policies and should not interfere with SUNY’s and CUNY’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive student body,” Cuomo wrote. “We will continue to work together to dismantle barriers to social and economic mobility and extend the promise of equal opportunity to all New Yorkers.”
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