The Trump administration is preparing to abolish policies that direct colleges and universities to increase diversity by considering race in college admissions, according to U.S. officials.
Media reports say Trump administration officials intend to argue against guidelines issued by president Barack Obama’s administration that offered legal recommendations for schools seeking to consider race as an admissions factor. The development was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Trump administration officials plan to argue that the guidelines exceed Supreme Court precedent and mislead schools that legal types of affirmative action are easier to attain than the law allows.
Anurima Bargava, who led civil rights enforcement in schools during the Obama administration, disagreed with the reported arguments, saying only guidelines were offered to schools that were exploring the continued use of affirmative action legally.
“This is a purely political attack that benefits nobody,” she told the Journal.
The Trump administration did not immediately respond to the Journal’s request for comment.
The Trump administration move comes as the Justice Department investigates whether Harvard University unlawfully discriminates against Asian-American students by holding them to higher admissions standards. The investigation was revived last year after Obama civil rights officials dismissed a similar complaint.
In a separate action, a 2014 lawsuit expected to go to trial in October, claims Harvard deliberately discriminates against Asian-Americans by putting a limit on the number of Asian students who are admitted.
A similar suit in 2013 filed by Edward Blum, a legal activist against racial and ethnic admissions criteria, against University of Texas-Austin failed to prove that the university had favored minority students.