NYT: Trump administration prepares to investigate 'race-based discrimination'

By Sophie Tatum

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Trump administration is readying resources in the Justice Department's civil rights division for the purpose of investigating and litigating "race-based discrimination" in US higher education, potentially with the aim of protecting white applicants from discrimination through affirmative action, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

According to an internal document obtained by the Times, the Justice Department's civil rights division is looking for lawyers to work on "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions."

The potential individuals discriminated against are not explained in the document, but the New York Times suggests that the phrase "intentional race-based discrimination" could mean the undertaking is aimed at affirmative action-based policies, specifically ones that prioritize minority students over white students.

Affirmative action, as it exists in US colleges and universities, aims to eliminate discrimination in the higher education admissions process by recruiting and incentivizing traditionally excluded groups like minority students or women.

A Justice Department spokesperson would not comment on the NYT story, telling CNN: "The Justice Department declines to comment on personnel matters."

The memo indicates the undertaking would be headed by political appointees in DOJ's civil rights division, rather than the Educational Opportunities Section, the Times reported, which would normally handle matters related to schools.

CNN's Mary Kay Mallonee contributed to this report.


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