Texas Tech medical school stops considering race in admissions process

The move by the university follows a 14-year investigation by the Dept. of Education's civil rights department.
11:16 | 04/11/19

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Transcript for Texas Tech medical school stops considering race in admissions process
She figures now to another major headline that popped overnight sort of a clip price it clips by some of this is a bill Barnett is. I the issue of race and college admissions the trump administration. Announcing that Texas Tech medical school no longer use race. As one of its factors explosive factors in choosing which candidates to admit. This follows a fourteen year investigation by the Department of Education civil rights department. Which found that the school was not easy race any narrowly tailored fashion. When conducting the admissions and the school now are changing course all this coming about from a complaint filed by the group the center for equal opportunity to group that if poses. Affirmative action and the president and General Counsel that group I joins me now by Skype Roger Clegg. Joins us Roger thank you so much for coming in so want to start by asking you why you brought this complaint. In the first place in what it means for students applying to this school in Texas now that this decision is come down. Well. Alice's second question first so what it means to students who are applying is they will be treated without regard to their skin color without regard to what country ancestors. Which I think is chair and want. Most Americans want. I'm the reason that we picked announced Texas tacked to filed its complaint against was that. Texas Tech announced. In 2003. That it was going to start using. Race as one of its factors in admission even though. Yet had not been use race Ian had. A quite diverse student body. I'm with now. Engaging in racial discrimination in missions in so we filed a complaint and said that under the supreme court's law. State of the law you can notch he engaged in racial discrimination except as a last resort and obviously. That requirement wasn't meant in this case because that artery idiots you eat or racial diversity without. I discriminating based terrorists and that was why we filed the complaint. And of course it's been celebrated. Roundly by the trump administration groups like yours Roger for. But meanwhile a number of groups are opposing this they are protest in that there want to bring in at least body she's a law professor Rutgers university and founder of the inclusion project of former. Litigator with the NAACP legal defense fund joins us now at least make you for coming nine want to ask you why you found this case so concerning. Well I think first of all we have to face facts in this country. Reese matters not because it showed that because it does. And if we look at virtually any indicator. Around opportunity in this country. Race has a pretty significant in. On whether people have fair access to opportunity and that's certainly the keys in higher education. But even more her arm to the point ads. The supreme court's law Wilson's. Consistently found that. Rees can be considered as one of many different factors. And that we look at the educational benefits of diversity that's real. It's very important to find places where. Students can come together and learn from one another I'm in a classroom setting. I seen that in my own experience with my own students and who weren't from one another. In the context of conversations around a lot of different issues and their constitutional law class that I teach. I'm so. The it it it's it significantly important it's it's it's a measure of who we are as a nation that we make sure that pathways to opportunity. Are open to everyone and that no one is denied. Than an opportunity to attend dead at college or medical school on because they've had some disadvantage in their lives. And release a lot of people might support including some opponents of affirmative action the idea. As the Supreme Court affirmed that diversity and educational setting as you were saying is very important it's valuable. Bob why is it's it's still necessary now to explicitly consider race as a factor on these applications to achieve that diversity is it not possible to do that. Without explicitly including that factor. Well certainly any it's if if the university can achieve. Diversity without considering race that's that's what the law. Requires and that's fine we want to make sure that it can achieve diversity. It without considering race of absence bats. The best possible path but I think at the end of the day we just have to grapple with the fact that diversity remains critically important. Path to creating opportunities in education and also creating spaces where people can come together I'm on from one another. Arms. He have to consider race explicitly to. To do that then we should. Waste is a set before race continues to matter in this country not because it should matter but because it doesn't we have to be real. The trump administration's education secretary today was up on Capitol Hill in the hot seat. Opt for hearing on the Education Department this case the Texas Tech. Medical school case did come up but was one of the first questions asked wanna play a little bit for both of our guests. That exchange take a listen. What is the administration doing to increase the number of African American men in medical school today. Well from the department's perspective we are continuing to. Followed the supreme court's guidelines are frowned use of different measures and admissions. He and and and will continue to do so we we acknowledge that it's a desirable. Goal to have a very diverse population in every educate. Also adding. And so what is the administration doing. To increase the number of African American men and medical schools well I don't think that we have been in and offensive. A measure to try to do that if it's up to certainly up to different institutions to. Both follow the Supreme Court rulings in this matter ands and and also to follow the omission of their schools. I mean you're doing nothing. It means that we're following the laws that were charged with following and will continue to do so. Roger Clegg want to bring you back into this where do you fall on the merits. Of having a diverse educational environment do you see any role for the federal government in creating such a setting and America's universities. I think what the federal government should be doing is making sure that the best qualified individuals. Have the opportunity to. Apply to medical school and are treated fairly when they applied a minutes. And that means not getting anybody preferential treatment. On the basis of race or ethnicity or sex. And and I think now. Tom. Respect to what professor Bonnie sanity here you are. If you what what you want insurers. Nondiscrimination. And equal opportunity you don't do that. By engaging in discrimination. If you want to give special consideration to people who. Have not had an opportunity. Who have overcome. Disadvantages. That's fine the there are people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds who. Face hurdles and who are disadvantaged you shouldn't use race as a proxy. For you know who's disadvantaged and who. Who isn't in you don't improve race relations. By systematically. Dividing Americans according to race and ethnicity in getting some people special treatment. On that based focus should be on on merit on admitting the best qualified people. It shouldn't be done and away that. Looks at somebody and says will we want you because. You will help us meet our quota yen achieving a predetermined racial and ethnic mix that's that's wrong that's than they are that makes no sense. I'm professor body of one of the next sort of front lines in this national conversation on a firm. Affirmative action is the trump administration's investigation of Harvard and Yale. For the alleged to segmentation. Of Asian applicants have both of those universities what does this case a Texas Tech I tell us about where that investigation might be headed more what do you see. What will you be looking for in those kids it's. Well I can't speak to. What the Texas Tech. Peaceful means for that. Investigations and other universities but let me let me just say this personal I agree wholeheartedly that we should be looking for the best qualified. On people to enter. The medical profession to go in TU. All of the different professions that are represented in this country. That is the question is how do we measure mayor. And are we overlooking people. And based on in an arbitrary criteria around SAT scores or. On some kind of standardized. An achievement test college admissions test and the fact of the matter is that we we have seen that people can do you. Very well. In institutions of higher education. And he'd give them a chance to give them an opportunity. And so what does things that we need to do was to eliminate arbitrary barriers to U opportunity in. I'm in higher education but with respect to the the point about the white race matters it's just. Plain common sense that race has can adds continues to influence. I'm a life experiences and perspectives of many different people we go back to the medical school context. We know about the tremendous amount of conscious and unconscious bias and in the health profession. And we know that having. Doctors to understand their patience and understand what they've gone through. I'm that in those experiences are heavily influenced by race that it matters to have people who can attends this. We need the medical needs of their patient's arm and races is a factor. Is and in providing quality I'm health care. And so acted to close down those opportunities. To people and not. In not provide access. And insure is represented as Scott was saying. On that we have black males in that ran it and that is a medical profession. Is really a critically important point. And it is it it's a cut it's a conversation that we'll have to continue I appreciate both your route proper perspective see Roger Clegg the president. And General Counsel. With dia center for equal opportunity also at least body. A compressor I have workers university former litigator and releasing few legal defense fund thank you so much for for joining us and it's you both.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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