For Immediate Release
July 3, 2018
Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) commends an important decision undertaken by the current administration to systematically roll back an Obama-era policy guidance that promoted the heightened use of race in college admissions and to issue new guidance. This is a triumphant moment for Asian American communities, as well as for AACE when our relentless efforts to help Asian American students secure their civil rights to equal education are accommodated by the federal government and crystalized into a necessary policy reform.
This timely update signifies a culmination of much-needed government actions to revamp misguided policies that facilitated widespread abuses of race-based affirmative action in higher education. As early as November 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice responded to AACE’s civil rights complaint against Harvard by starting an investigation into the school’s admissions practices. On June 29, 2018, the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education restored a policy notice dated back to the Bush era which instructs all schools receiving federal financial assistance to strictly observe the relevant U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the use of race in college admissions. On July 3, 2018, the Justice Department acted accordingly by rescinding seven policy documents that promoted racial balancing in postsecondary education.
Such accumulative measures align with a series of steady-going Supreme Court rulings that progressively curtail the use of race in college admissions and banned uses of racial quotas, racial stereotypes, and higher standards. More importantly, this new regulatory reform epitomizes AACE’s success as a broad-based network with an impressive record of advocating educational equality for all American students, especially Asian Americans who have been disproportionately hurt by discriminatory admissions practices.
Since 2015, AACE has been actively campaigning through administrative complaints against Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth, and continuously driving for policy changes to scale back an overt focus on racial balancing to the detriment of hard-working Asian American students. On March 5, 2018, an AACE delegation met with several Education Department officials and provided four policy recommendations on college admissions, of which rescinding the Obama-era guidance is one important component. On May 17, 2018, AACE leaders attended the WHIAAPI Community Leaders Forum and highlighted the perils of prevalent discrimination at various levels of American education and those of subdividing Asian Americans in the college common application. On May 28, 2018, Mr. Yukong Zhao, the AACE president, reinstated the organization’s demand for the current administration to create new policy guidelines to deter racial discrimination in college admissions, during a panel discussion organized by the Federalist Society. On June 15, 2015, after mounting discrimination evidences of Harvard were publicized, AACE urged the U.S. Department of Education to initiate a timely policy reform. Our tireless efforts are finally starting to pay off with today’s announcement of a critical regulatory reform in education.
AACE applauds the current policy update as a pragmatic legal interpretation to guarantee equal protection of the laws for all American children and thanks the Education Department for responding to our policy recommendations by doing so.
Elimination of the race balancing focused guidance for college admissions is a necessary first step for achieving educational equality, after which resources and efforts can be jointly concentrated into improving K-12 education in inner cities and helping socioeconomically disadvantaged students achieve better education, regardless of their races.
Mr. Zhao further elaborated, “Today marks a new chapter for millions of Asian American children. If the new policy is faithfully implemented, American colleges can no longer use unlawful racial quotas, racial stereotypes and higher standards to discriminate against our children. This will significantly reduce a major barrier in these students’ pursuits of the American Dream. At this critical juncture, the U.S. government shall strengthen its oversight authority and issue strict guidelines to dissuade all colleges from unlawful use of race in college admissions. Punitive measures must also be clearly outlined to withdraw public funding to those refusing to comply. Until then, Asian American students, who, like everyone else, strive to excel academically, will not get significant redress for the institutionalized discrimination inflicted on them by politically powerful groups.”
About the AACE: www.asianamericanforeducation.org
The Asian American Coalition for Education (“AACE”) is a non-political, non-profit, national organization devoted to promoting equal rights for Asian-Americans in education and education-related activities. It is a grass-roots organization established by Asian-American parents. In May 2015, the founders of AACE united more than 60 Asian-American organizations to file a complaint with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education regarding Harvard University’s discriminatory treatment of Asian American applicants. It was one of the largest joint actions ever taken by Asian American organizations in pursuit of equal education rights and is currently under the investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.