(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Affirmative action is back in the headlines.
A leaked internal job posting by the Department is of Justice is causing speculation that the president is working to make changes in affirmative action. The job post displayed the DOJ’s interest in hiring someone with experience in, “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
From the job description, the New York Times published an article alleging the president was creating a team dedicated to “investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”
Which according to the DOJ and White House is untrue.
The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters, “The New York Times article is based entirely on uncorroborated inferences from a leaked internal personnel posting in violation of Department of Justice policy.”
Department of Justice Spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, told Red Alert Politics that the posting was seeking volunteers to help with an investigation into a discrimination claim — a claim that the DOJ suggested the previous administration that failed to address.
“Press reports regarding the personnel posting in the Civil Rights Division have been inaccurate. The posting sought volunteers to investigate one administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations in May 2015 that the prior Administration left unresolved,” Flores said.
Flores said the DOJ reviews all credible allegations of illegal race-based discrimination. This complaint addresses Asian-American and the alleged discrimination they faced from Havard University admissions. Originally filed in 2015 during the Obama Administration, the complaint had been left unresolved and now the Trump Administration is investigating as part of their protocol.
“The complaint alleges racial discrimination against Asian Americans in a university’s admissions policy and practices. This Department of Justice has not received or issued any directive, memorandum, initiative, or policy related to university admissions in general,“ Flores said.
The Asian American Coalition for Education has been at the forefront of this fight against what they describe as “continuous discrimination against Asian-Americans in the college admissions process.” The AACE claims that Asian-Americans have to score on average 140 points higher than White students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students, and 450 points higher than Black students on the SAT, in order to get into America’s top universities.
“We Asian Americans face such a high standard and racial balancing which is against the law, but apparently the universities will not admit they are using racial balancing, that’s why an investigation is called upon,” Chunyan Li a board member of the Asian American Coalition for Education told Red Alert Politics.
The AACE and 64 other organizations filed a 50-page complaint against Harvard University on May 15, 2015. The civil rights violation complaint was filed with both the Department of Education and Department of Justice. The Department of Education dismissed the complaint in 2015 but the DOJ is looking into it.
“It is long overdue to the Asian American community, who follows the laws, works hard and has been making tremendous contribution to American economic prosperity and technology leadership in the world,” Mr. Yukong Zhao, the president of AACE, said in a statement.
When asked if anyone from the Obama Administration had reached out to AACE in regards to the complaint during his tenure, Li said that this is the first she is hearing of its advancement since it was filed. The AACE said previous administrations have failed to investigate their complaints, and they are encouraged by the Trump Administration’s investigation.
“We face all the stereotypes that minorities face, but we are held to a higher standard and don’t get the same treatment as other minorities,” Li said.
AACE has called for a complete ban on racial discrimination as part of the college admissions process, arguing admission shouldn’t be broken down by race. A 2004 Princeton University study found that Asian-Americans are expected to perform higher than other minorities to have the same chance of admission to Ivy League schools. This type of discrimination of feeling penalized for their high performance in the classroom is widely known as the “Asian tax or Asian Penalty.”
“I hope there is a day we do not break down (admissions) by race.” Li said. Li believes it’s time to consider making changes in affirmative action and look at economic status rather than race, saying, “We could give the lower economic families a leg up because they may not have all of the privileges like the SAT prep courses and guidance counseling.”
Li argued that Asian students in K-12 education are becoming ‘disenfranchised.’ Students feel that no matter how hard they work their applications are not given a fair look by ivy league schools, even though Asian-Americans tend to test higher than other minorities.
Thursday Harvard announced for the first time in history the incoming class has more incoming minorities that white students. The university denies limiting access to Asian students or admitting less qualified minorities over Asian applicants. In 2015, when this complaint was filed, the university accepted 1,990 students from a pool of 37,307 applicants. Of the nearly 2,000 students, 21 percent were Asian-Americans, 13.3 percent Latinos, 12.1 percent African-Americans, and 2 percent Native American or Native Hawaiian.
“Harvard’s admissions process considers each applicant as a whole person, and we review many factors, consistent with the legal standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Melodie Jackson, Assistant Vice President, Communications at Harvard University told Red Alert Politics.
But the AACE argues that if race were not a factor in the admission process, you would naturally, due to their traditionally high academic achievements, see much higher numbers of Asians accepted to these top universities.
Affirmative action mandates that universities provide equal access to education for minority groups and has nearly tripled the number of minority applications to colleges or universities. Supporters say that diversity in universities offers opportunities to minorities to receive better higher paying jobs. Critics argue there is no correlation between skin color and intelligence and so every applicant regardless of race should be accepted to universities based on their intelligence. Those against Affirmative action also say the process of admissions becomes condescending by giving preference by race rather than test scores, admitting those who scored lower and denying students with high scores because of their race.
The DOJ is expected to look investigate this alleged “Asian penalty.” In 2016 AACE and 132 Asian-American organizations filed an additional complaint with the Justice and Education department against Yale University, Brown University, and Dartmouth University for unlawful discrimination in their admissions process.