Texas Tech University has reached an agreement with the Trump administration to stop considering race during its admissions process, the Education Department said Tuesday.
The deal settles a 14-year investigation into the university’s Health Sciences Center’s use of affirmative action.
Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill told The Washington Post the agency asked the university to abide by limits on affirmative action established by the Supreme Court, but Hill said the school made the decision to completely end the practice of using race in admissions on its own.
The agreement states the university may notify the Education Department if it seeks to resume using race or national origin in its admissions process.
Texas Tech signed the voluntary agreement in February, agreed to inform staff of the changes by March 1, and agreed to remove material referencing race and national origin as factors for admission by September.
The investigation into the university was opened in 2005 in response to a complaint from Roger Clegg, general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity.
“This shows the Trump administration is taking seriously its responsibility to enforce civil rights in a way that protects all Americans,” Clegg told The Wall Street Journal. “The more schools that don’t use racial preferences, the harder it is for the remaining schools to justify their use of it.”
The agreement marks the first time the Trump administration has request that a school limit its affirmative-action practices but the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has ongoing investigations into whether Asian-American applicants to Yale and Harvard are being discriminated against.
Last year, the Justice Department reversed a set of 24 Obama-era guidelines, including promoting the use of race in admissions standards to achieve diversity in schools.
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the use of affirmative action and most recently affirmed the practice by a vote of 4-3 in 2016.
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