Washington, D.C. – In response to reports that Texas Tech University Health Science Center has agreed to end its consideration of race in selecting candidates for admission to its medical school, Brenda Shum Director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law made the following statement:
“In no uncertain terms, we condemn the misguided and premature decision by Texas Tech to abandon its lawful and meaningful efforts to ensure racial diversity on its campus. The resolution agreement between Texas Tech and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights does not alter the constitutionality of race conscious admissions programs,” stated Brenda Shum Director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Rather, it demonstrates the importance of establishing a process that complies with strict scrutiny which may include a meaningful evaluation of campus climate; surveys of students, faculty and other stakeholders; and appropriate documentation of campus climate over time. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will remain a resource for colleges and universities committed to equity and diversity in higher education.”
“This development further reinforces this administration’s hostility to race conscious admissions policies. Moving forward, we will watch closely to determine whether Texas Tech University Health Science Center’s consideration of race-neutral alternatives undermines educational benefits of diversity at the medical school. Our experience shows that many institutions can successfully demonstrate that their affirmative action programs are fully compliant with the law.”
In 2005, the Center for Equal Opportunity filed a complaint challenging the affirmative action policies at the undergraduate school and medical school at Texas Tech. In 2018, the complaint was dismissed as to the undergraduate college after an investigation determined that the institution discontinued the consideration of race in 2014. On April 9, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center entered an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to discontinue the consideration of race and national origin in medical school admissions by September 1st. The agreement does not prevent Texas Tech from reintroducing a race conscious admissions policy in the future that conforms with constitutional mandates.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Right Under Law represents a racially and ethnically diverse group of students and graduates at Harvard and the University of North Carolina who are defending affirmative action at those institutions.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.
Reynolds Graves, Lawyers’ Committee, [email protected], 202-662-8375