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Biden: "The Supremes were just kidding". I'm the judicial branch.

Hold on! I know you're wondering if our Commander in Chief just said colleges can admit based on "race" when the highest court said the opposite? Relax and take a deep breath.


Joe obviously didn't have his afternoon nap and forgot that he's the head of the executive branch, not the Judicial branch. At least he didn't mistake himself for Congress.


And furthermore, for a guy his age, I think he's crushing it. In fact, I'm considering closing down the Spritzler Report when I hit 80 and enter politics.


Colleges Can Still Consider Race in Admissions Within Limits, Biden Administration Says

Education, Justice departments highlight the ways schools may pursue a diverse student population in wake of Supreme Court ruling


By Melissa Korn, WSJ

Aug. 14, 2023 12:18 pm ET


The Biden administration offered detailed guidance for colleges navigating new restrictions on how they consider race in their admissions decisions, including providing examples of what types of essays would be allowed and how schools can recruit prospective students without running afoul of the law.


Colleges—and applicants—have been struggling in recent weeks to determine exactly how to interpret the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the role of race in admissions. The court said in June that schools can’t consider race as a factor on its own when making admission decisions, but can take into account how race affected the applicant’s life. Many institutions added new essay prompts and issued statements reiterating their commitment to diversity, but prospective students remain uncertain about exactly how they should portray themselves in applications.


The Education and Justice departments said in a joint release Monday that a university still could consider an applicant’s reflections on being the first Black violinist in his city’s youth orchestra, or an applicant’s discussion of how learning to cook traditional Hmong dishes from a family member sparked her passion for food and helped her connect to her heritage.


“In short, institutions of higher education remain free to consider any quality or characteristic of a student that bears on the institution’s admission decision, such as courage, motivation, or determination, even if the student’s application ties that characteristic to their lived experience with race,” the administration said.


The Supreme Court has banned colleges from using race as admission criteria, essentially ending affirmative action. California did the same 25 years ago.


Biden administration officials emphasized that schools can still pursue the goal of enrolling a diverse student body, and are allowed to use targeted outreach and recruiting initiatives. They said schools can consider race, as well as factors such as geography, financial resources and a parent’s education level, when creating such programs. For instance, they said, colleges can direct recruitment efforts at schools or districts that serve high concentrations of students of color or low-income students.


The main limitation, the administration said, is that schools can’t provide targeted groups with preference in the admission process itself.


“We know what has happened at colleges when individual states have banned affirmative action,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a briefing with reporters Monday, pointing to studies showing that such moves resulted in lower enrollment by students of color. “We cannot afford that kind of backsliding on a national scale.”


In coming weeks, the administration will issue a comprehensive report on “the most effective and promising strategies for colleges to lawfully cultivate diverse applicants and diverse student bodies,” Cardona said.


On Monday, Biden administration officials listed other elements of the admissions process that schools may want to reconsider in light of the Supreme Court ruling. For instance, they said, colleges can decide whether they should still give a boost to children of alumni or donors, and whether application elements such as fees and standardized testing requirements, or the use of binding early decision deadlines create unnecessary barriers for diverse applicants.


Schools can also adopt top-percentage plans, in which a particular slice of the high school graduating class is automatically admitted, the administration said. Such programs are in place in Texas, California and Florida.


The administration’s suggestions aren’t requirements, and don’t carry the weight of law.


“The Supreme Court’s decision does not end our charge, and it does not relieve educational institutions of their duty to ensure that their admissions practices don’t create barriers for students based on any protected characteristics, including race,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.


Edward Blum, the conservative activist behind the lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that wound up in front of the Supreme Court, warned schools last month of legal consequences if they didn’t abide by the court’s ruling and offered his own suggestions for how schools might want to proceed, including eliminating the check box where students can mark their race or ethnicity.


UNC formally banned the consideration of race in admissions and hiring decisions last month. Board Chair David Boliek Jr. said admissions officers are expected to review essays in a colorblind fashion, and that it is up to the school to write essay prompts that allow students to highlight skills and traits without mentioning race.


The administration said Monday that colleges can continue to collect and analyze demographic data about applicants, admissions and enrollments, as long as the data aren’t influencing admission decisions, and noted that reviewing such figures can help a school tailor its outreach efforts and assess the efficacy of financial aid or academic support programs.


The administration also said schools should continue to offer support to underrepresented students once they are on campus, to ensure they feel a sense of belonging. Those efforts can include cultural centers and affinity groups with race-related themes, as long as their activities are open to all students regardless of race.


Write to Melissa Korn at Melissa.Korn@wsj.com


Copyright ©2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8


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