The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, The New York Times has learned.
The Times obtained an internal announcement circulated within DOJ’s civil rights division, a department unit which enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, soliciting interest in “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
The report claims that the purpose of the effort is to identify and litigate against policies which disadvantage white applicants. However, the Times’ report does not identify those sections of the document which evince interest in protecting white students.
Indeed, such a tactic is at odds with the strategies employed by anti-affirmative action groups that are currently fight race-conscious admissions policies in court. Groups such as Students for Fair Admissions have sued institutions of higher education, including Harvard University and the University of Texas, on the basis of discrimination against Asian applicants.
Supporters and critics of the Affirmative Action project said it was clearly targeting admissions programs that can give members of generally minority groups, like black and Latino students, an edge over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores.
Roger Clegg, a former top official in the civil rights division during the Reagan administration and the first Bush administration who is now the president of the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, called the project a “welcome” and “long overdue” development as the United States becomes increasingly multiracial.
“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,” he said.
Other efforts to curtail race-based admission due to discrimination against whites and asians that are smarter and better prepared to enter college have not ended successfully.