As Donald Trump moves to undo every last trace of Obama’s legacy, the WSJ reported that on Tuesday, the Trump administration reversed Obama-era policies that encourage the use of race in college admissions “to promote diverse educational settings.” Instead, the Trump administration will encourage the nation’s school superintendents and college presidents to adopt race-blind admissions standards.
The reversal would restore the policy set during President George W. Bush’s administration, when officials told schools that it “strongly encourages the use of race-neutral methods” for admitting students to college or assigning them to elementary and secondary schools.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the official announcement Tuesday afternoon.
“The American people deserve to have their voices heard and a government that is accountable to them. When issuing regulations, federal agencies must abide by constitutional principles and follow the rules set forth by Congress and the President,” Sessions said. “In previous administrations, however, agencies often tried to impose new rules on the American people without any public notice or comment period, simply by sending a letter or posting a guidance document on a website. That’s wrong, and it’s not good government.”
The decision comes amid a DOJ probe whether Harvard was illegally discriminating against Asian-American students by holding them to a higher standard in its admissions process. The administration revived the probe last year after Obama civil rights officials dismissed a similar complaint.
While the decision does not change current US law on affirmative action, it provides a strong illustration of the administration’s position on an issue that could take on renewed attention with the departure of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court.