Earlier this month, it was announced that the Trump administration decided to reverse Obama’s policy on affirmative action, which encouraged universities to consider race as a factor during the admissions process. However, several universities have made a conscious decision to stick with the affirmative action policy set in place by Obama, despite the recent announcement.
Several top universities, including five Ivy league institutions, say they plan to continue factoring race in admissions to promote and bolster diversity. By going against the new Trump administration guidelines, the schools could face consequences, which includes losing federal funding from the Department of Education, federal lawsuits, and federal investigations.
One of the schools in support of Obama’s affirmative action is Harvard University. Despite being in the middle of a lawsuit accusing the school of discriminating against Asian American applicants in favor of other minorities, Harvard issued a statement saying “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.”
Also referring to the Supreme Court’s past ruling on integration, Dartmouth says “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.”
Using diversity as a way to prepare students to thrive in a “complex and changing world,” Brown University also released a statement that they too will continue to use race-conscious admission practices. “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,” they said.
College of William and Mary, Rice University, Emory University, Tufts University and Middlebury College will join Harvard, Brown, and Dartmouth in their decision to use race as an admissions factor. According to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York schools will also follow suit. In a letter to SUNY and CUNY trustees, he wrote, “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.”
“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.”