Texas Tech University has signed an agreement with the federal government to end its policy of using race as criteria in admissions decisions.
The agreement, signed between Texas Tech’s Health Sciences Center medical school and the Department of Education, requires the university to review its admission and recruitment policies and remove race-related material by September, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The deal marks the closure of a 14 year investigation after Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity filed a compliant into the medical school’s use of race as a factor in admissions.
In a letter to the Department of Education, Eric Bentley, Texas Tech University System vice president and general counsel, wrote that the school is “committed to exploring race-neutral alternatives.”
“If a determination is made in the future that using race as a factor in admissions is necessary … [Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center] will provide notice,” Bentley wrote.
It is the first time that a university has provided a written commitment to the Trump administration, claiming that it will not consider race as a factor in its admission processes.
Since coming into office, the Trump administration has opposed the use of affirmative action in admissions. Last year, the Department of Education removed Obama-era guidelines and asked colleges and universities to consider students in a race-neutral practice of student admissions.
The new guidance doesn’t have the force of law, but schools are presumably able to defend themselves from lawsuits due to the administration policy.
Harvard and Yale are also being investigated by the Department of Education for treating Asian applicants differently during admissions processes on the basis of their race.
A number of race related lawsuits are also currently mounting against top universities. In 2014, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) sued Harvard for allegedly preferring whites, blacks and Hispanics at the expense of more deserving Asian American students. The trial in the case came to an end in November 2018.
The University of California system is also battling an affirmative action lawsuit filed by Richard Sander in November, alleging the system of introducing race as a factor in admissions after it received flak over the declining enrollment numbers of black and Hispanic students.