Race will no longer be factored into admissions at Texas Tech University’s medical school following an agreement with the Trump administration, potentially previewing how other complaints over affirmative action are handled under Education Secretary Betsy Devos.
The resolution resolves a complaint filed in 2004 against Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. But notably, the resolution is the first of its kind under the Trump administration, which last year rescinded Obama-era guidelines meant to promote diversity among students.
The civil rights office of the Education Department also has ongoing investigations into policies at Yale and Harvard.
Under the agreement with Texas Tech’s medical school, the admissions department will “discontinue all consideration of an applicant’s race and/or national origin.” The resolution was signed in February but first reported Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal.
The original complaint was filed by Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, which opposes affirmative action.
On Tuesday, the group posted to its website a March letter to Clegg from the Education Department, which said that school officials acknowledged in interviews that internal reviews “does not specifically consider the necessity for continued use of race-conscious admissions policies or whether race-neutral alternatives would be effective in achieving a similar level of diversity.”
It went on to say the department “has concern” that the medical school’s admissions process may not be narrowly tailored.
The Trump administration’s Justice Department has signaled concern about the use of race in admissions decisions. The department, for instance, sided last year 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 granted affirmative action policies a victory by permitting race to be among the factors considered in the college admission process.