Texas Tech medical school to stop using race in admissions

Henrietta Strickland
April 12, 2019

In 2004, a complaint was filed against the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine by the Center for Equal Opportunity with the Education Department's civil rights division; the department launched an investigation in 2005.

DeVos revoked Obama-era guidance a year ago that offered schools a road map on how they could legally consider race in the interest of promoting diversity. The university then started using applicants' race and national origin when considering whom to accept into the school.

Texas Tech University's medical school has agreed to end its consideration of race in selecting candidates for admission, an outcome actively sought by the Trump administration.

The university didn't respond to a request for comment, the Journal reported. The problem, the agreement said, was that the school wasn't conducting annual reviews of their admissions process to determine whether affirmative action was necessary.

Liz Hill, an Education Department spokeswoman, emphasized that the agency was not insisting the school stop using race completely, but that it abide by limits established by the Supreme Court. The Trump administration quoted a 2008 statement from the Bush administration Department of Education that asserted, "The Department of Education strongly encourages the use of race-neutral methods for assigning students to elementary and secondary schools".

The department, for instance, sided a year ago with Asian-American plaintiffs who contend in a lawsuit against Harvard that the school unlawfully limits how many Asian students are admitted.

In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court noted in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin that race-based admissions practices must stand up to strict scrutiny (the court's highest level of scrutiny) in order to comply with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Conservatives have argued such programs can hurt whites and Asian-Americans and argue that other factors including socioeconomic status should be considered in efforts to achieve diversity.

The resolution letter said "The TTUHSC's School of Allied Health (now School of Health Professions), Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and School of Nursing never used an applicant's race as a factor in the admissions process".

The department joined Students for Fair Admissions, the group behind the case, which has urged the disclosure of "powerful" evidence showing that Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Harvard is violating Title VI of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Harvard says its admissions policies comply with USA laws and that it has worked to boost financial aid to ensure economic, as well as racial, diversity in its classes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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