One Asian-American legal group is pleased with the announcement that the Department of Justice might examine affirmative action, saying it represents a positive development in the fight against race-based college admission policies.
Studies on affirmative action have shown that Asian-American students might suffer more from these race-based policies than other ethnic groups. A 2009 studied revealed Asian American students often have to score higher on their SATs. than their white, black and Latin counterparts to be considered on the same playing field.
Lee Cheng, the co-founder and director of the Asian American Legal Foundation, spoke to the press about his hope that the DOJ will now be a partner in the fight against race-based policies in college admissions.
“Now there is a voice in DC that we can appeal to. There’s an administration and there are people at the federal government level who want to enforce civil rights as they were meant to be enforced, which is to protect individual rights of all Americans regardless of race. So we view that as certainly a very positive development,” Cheng told press.
“We absolutely intend to keep an eye on the development of schools across the country and where we find discrimination under the euphemism of affirmative action we would definitely let the DOJ know that they should investigate.”
The media broke news Tuesday night of an internal DOJ memo asking lawyers in the civil rights division whether they are willing “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The memo does not make absolutely clear what groups are affected by these affirmative action policies.
Cheng believes that it’s a good sign the DOJ might have lawyers investigating instances of intentional race-based discrimination. There is a difference between legal affirmative action where race is weighed as one factor among others is fine and only using racial preference to determine who can go to schools, Cheng told press.
“Asian Americans who have never discriminated against anybody in America find themselves on the short end of the stick where in the name of diversity and in the name of affirmative action we end up having to score higher, achieve more or in order to get the same access to opportunities as other Americans just because of our race. And that’s wrong,” he said to the media.
Cheng hopes the DOJ memo signals a potential push to transparency in the college admissions process. By schools revealing their college admissions records, Cheng believes that poorer college applicants might stand a great chance in the enrollment process.
“I have hope that the DOJ will force schools to let the public see what the schools have been doing. The schools have been denying for years that they discriminate.They won’t let anyone see their admissions records,” he added.