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Department of Justice Plans to Investigate Affirmative Action in Higher Education
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Summary: The Trump White House administration reportedly wants to fight affirmative action on college and university campuses. 

The Trump administration reportedly wants to battle affirmative action. According to The New York Times, the Department of Justice plans on launching an investigation into “race-based discrimination” at colleges and universities around the country, and they are supposedly ready to litigate if necessary.


The New York Times obtained an internal document that revealed the DOJ’s civil rights division is seeking lawyers to work on anti-affirmative action cases. According to CNN, the department, led by Jeff Sessions, wants to help any white student who felt that he or she was discriminated against because of their race.

The Justice Department told CNN that it declined to comment on “personnel matters,” nor would it confirm or deny the New York Time story. An unnamed DOJ official, however, told CNN that if there was any form of discrimination happening at universities, “the department would look into it.”

“Affirmative Action” is a term coined in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy when he stated that the government should “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” In regards to higher-education, affirmative action refers to schools’ recruitment and admission processes that seek to add more minority students or women to the population.

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Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said that the organization was prepared to fight the DOJ if it were to stop the practice of affirmative action.

“From Brown v. Board of Education to Fisher v. UT Austin, LDF has fought to ensure that every child is afforded an equal opportunity to succeed, and we will bring the full force of the law if this Justice Department attempts to resegregate our institutions of higher learning,” Ifill said.

Senator Kamala Harris from California has advocated for affirmative action and said that the DOJ’s decision is an “attack.”

“Jeff Sessions’ attack on #Affirmative Action is yet another attempt by this Administration to roll back progress and divide us. Make no mistake, diversity in education makes everyone smarter. It’s a strength, not a weakness,” Harris said on Twitter.

According to The Washington Post, the DOJ’s reported action “appears to be linked to a widespread belief among white conservatives that “anti-white bias” is a serious problem in society today. Recent polling underscores the point. A Huffington Post/YouGov survey from last fall, for instance, found that Trump voters believe that whites are more discriminated against than Muslims, blacks, Jews and Latinos.”

The White House’s stance comes one year after the Supreme Court ruled in Fisher v. Texas that schools can use race when making admission decisions. The landmark case was heralded by affirmative action proponents but lampooned by those who believe affirmative action discriminates against white and Asian students.

In Fisher v. Texas, a white student named Abby Fisher claimed that the University of Texas-Austin discriminated against her because of race. She filed a lawsuit in 2008 after being denied admission to the competitive school that year. At the time, UT-Austin had a policy that they would allow all students admission if they graduated in the top 10% of their Texas high school, and Abby did not qualify.

What do you think of affirmative action? Let us know in the comments below.


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