Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump participates in a roundtable discussion with African American business and civic leaders, Sept. 2, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pa. 
Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Trump admin urges higher ed to ignore racial factors in admissions

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump routinely told largely white audiences, “Look at how much African-American communities are suffering from Democratic control. To those I say the following: what do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose?” It’s a line the Republican continues to repeat all the time – as if he has a record black people should find impressive.

He doesn’t. As regular readers know, African-American voters had quite a bit to lose. The Republican president’s willingness to ignite ugly racial controversies, for example, is well documented, but Trump’s regressive policy agenda adds injury to insult.

The Trump administration, reversing an Obama-era policy, encouraged schools and universities on Tuesday to stop considering race as a factor in school admissions.

“The American people deserve to have their voices heard and a government that is accountable to them. When issuing regulations, federal agencies must abide by constitutional principles and follow the rules set forth by Congress and the president,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in rescinding six Obama administration documents intended to give schools guidance on adopting affirmative action programs.

The Trump administration didn’t end affirmative action altogether, but in a joint statement from the Education and Justice Departments, the Republican administration scrapped Obama-era guidance to educational institutions and urged them not to prioritize racial diversity in admissions.

This comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s latest efforts to undo Obama-era fair-housing policies.

And circling back to our coverage from the spring, Trump’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also stripped enforcement powers from the CFPB’s office responsible for pursuing discrimination cases. As the Washington Post  reported in February, the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity “previously used its powers to force payouts in several prominent cases, including settlements from lenders it alleged had systematically charged minorities higher interest rates than they had for whites.”

The unit will apparently still exist, but it’ll focus on “advocacy, coordination and education,” instead of enforcement and oversight.

Earlier this year, we also learned that Trump’s Justice Department has “effectively shuttered an Obama-era office dedicated to making legal aid accessible to all citizens,” which also appears likely to adversely affect minority communities.

What do African-American communities “have to lose” from Trump’s presidency? That may have been a rhetorical question, but the answer continues to come into sharper focus.