Texas Tech Medical School Will No Longer Consider Race In Admissions

Officials from the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division will now require the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center medical school to stop considering race in its admissions process. The agreement was made by the university and the Trump administration in February, The Wall Street Journal reported. The agreement states that medical officials at the university will update its recruitment and admissions process, and advise the admissions committee to stop considering applicant’s race or national origin during the process, according to the publication.

The news marks the conclusion of a 14-year investigation into the Lubbock, Texas school, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Wall Street Journal. The agreement follows a complaint filed in 2005 by the Center for Equal Opportunity against Texas Tech and its medical school; the complaint was dismissed because the university stated that its admissions policies limited affirmative action, The Dallas News reported.

Despite the complaint’s dismissal, an investigation into the university continued. In a statement to The North Star, the Department of Education (DOE) noted that Texas Tech must remove materials that reference race and national origin as admissions factors from its website by September 1, 2019. Medical school spokeswoman Suzanna Cisneros told The Dallas Observer that university officials will consider using "holistic alternatives" to bring diversity to the school. "The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine is committed to a diverse and inclusive medical education and experience while working collaboratively with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights," Cisneros told the publication. "The school focuses on providing a core foundational value of including the diverse cultures, lifestyles, personal beliefs and ideas of all those we serve."

In a statement to The North Star, officials from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund said that the Texas Tech agreement is “another attack on education equity” from the Trump administration.

“The educational benefits of diversity, including racial diversity, are central to a 21st-century education, especially given our increasingly global workforce. This is why the Supreme Court has affirmed the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions over and over again,” said Jin Hee Lee, the senior deputy director of litigation. “Taken on its own, this agreement with Texas Tech University might be seen as a limited, voluntary action taken by the medical school irrespective of the Supreme Court’s clear dictates regarding the use of race-conscious admissions policies.”

Lee added that her team also represents 25 Harvard students and alumni organizations in defense of the university's race-conscious admissions policies. “We will continue to take steps to protect efforts aimed at improving education equity throughout the country,” Lee said.

Affirmative action policies focus on employing and providing learning opportunities to historically excluded groups such as minorities and women. This is the first time the Trump administration has asked a university to stop its affirmative action practices, The Hill reported.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.