By VIVIAN YEE AUG. 5, 2017, New York Times
Image from article, with caption: The campus of Princeton University, where 9 percent of students are black. The school's admission process was the subject of a Department of Education investigation after a complaint by Asian-American applicants.
Just a year ago, after the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the University of
Texas at Austin’s admissions program by a single swing vote, the question seemed to
be edging, at last, toward an answer: Colleges could, the justices ruled, consider race
when deciding whom to let through their gates.
“I thought this was settled,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, an economist at
Georgetown University who studies affirmative action. “I thought it was done.”
Only for the moment.
A series of lawsuits and complaints have continued to challenge such practices,
and last week, President Trump’s Justice Department joined the chorus, signaling
that it would marshal lawyers to investigate and perhaps sue colleges over
“intentional race-based discrimination” in admissions.
Besieged in court, routed in eight states, accused of favoring blacks and Latinos
at the expense of Asians and whites, affirmative action — a major legacy of the civil
rights era — is once again the subject of uncomfortable scrutiny.
But even without federal intervention, a look at affirmative action policies in
2017 shows that they have achieved their own kind of diversity, evolving from the
explicitly race-based quotas of decades ago into a range of approaches that
occasionally, not always, near the melting-pot ideal, often by giving preference to
low-income students instead of minorities. ...