National Institute on Aging

Trump Administration to Investigate University Affirmative Action Programs

Since the 1978 Bakke case, the Supreme Court has revisited the issue of affirmative action in college admissions on a number of occasions. It appears that the issue may be brought to the forefront once again.

An internal Justice Department memo leaked to The New York Times sought out attorneys interested in “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”

After initially refusing to comment on the story, the Justice Department later stated that it was looking at a single case involving a complaint made by Asian American students at a single university.

It is widely believed that this case involves Harvard University. In 2015, the Obama administration dismissed a complaint filed by a group of Asian American groups claiming that Asian Americans were being unfairly excluded from Harvard. The complaint was dismissed because a similar case had been filed in the federal courts. That suit cited a 2009 study which found that Asian-Americans needed an SAT score 140 points higher than Whites and 450 points higher than African Americans to get into a top private college.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Education data, Asian Americans make up 17 percent of the nearly 10,000 undergraduate students at Harvard University.

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