The Justice Department plans to investigate colleges and universities whose admissions policies discriminate against white applicants, according to an internal memo revealed by the New York Times Tuesday.
The initiative, which will reportedly be overseen by a DOJ Civil Rights Division heavy with Trump appointees, would be charged with hiring attorneys to explore “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions,” the Times reported.
The project’s reveal prompted immediate concern from civil rights advocates, with Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law calling the action “deeply disturbing.”
“It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses,” Clarke told the Times.
This would mark only the latest disturbing reversal in how the federal government interprets civil rights law since Jeff Sessions became Attorney General. Last week, DOJ lawyers argued that federal civil rights law did not, in fact, apply to “discrimination based on sexual orientation.”