Using race as a factor in admission decisions by U.S. colleges and universities--so-called affirmative action--has once again become a lightning rod for debate. Last month, several universities defended Harvard University against a lawsuit that attacks its use of race in student admissions. The backdrop of this case, and a similar one against the University of North Carolina– Chapel Hill, is even more disturbing. Also last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education (DOE), both under leadership appointed by the Trump administration, encouraged "race-neutral" admissions practices, rolling back previous guidance for achieving diversity by these very agencies. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly allowed higher education institutions to consider race as one factor, among many, in admissions decisions.
As we further consider how to train future lawyers for the Algorithmic Society and develop the quality of thinking, listening, relating, collaborating, and learning that will define smartness in this new age, law schools must reach beyond their storied walls. In law, we must got beyond talking about algorithmic implications to actually help shape algorithmic performance. We need lawyers and programmers to work together to create a sound "machine learning corpus." There's potential for an entirely new subfield to emerge if given the right support. With many law school attached to major research universities, it's a great place to start this cross-pollination and interdisciplinary work.
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – A Justice Department inquiry into how race influences admissions at Harvard University has left selective colleges bracing for new scrutiny of practices that have helped boost diversity levels to new highs across the Ivy League. Harvard and other top-tier colleges closely guard the inner workings of their admissions offices, but they defend approaches that consider an applicant's race among other factors as a way to bring a diverse mix of perspectives to campus. While the schools believe they are on firm legal ground, experts say the investigation could inspire new challenges. "They're pulling the scab off a wound that was healing," said Anthony Carnevale, who has studied affirmative action programs and leads Georgetown University's Center for Education and the Workforce. "This could erupt in a bunch more cases."
Students in South Los Angeles public high schools will soon receive priority admission to Cal State Dominguez Hills. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced an agreement with the university to guarantee admission to students at Local District South high schools who meet requirements. Those include completion of the A-G course requirements that all L.A. Unified students will need to graduate, as well as certain GPAs and SAT scores on a sliding scale. The district's south area encompasses roughly 20 high schools and magnet programs with about 4,700 current high school seniors. The goal of the program is to get more students from the schools into science, technology, engineering, arts and math fields, which together are often called STEAM.
Maria Blanco did a double take when the Google alert popped up in her inbox late last week: President Trump had reversed his campaign pledge and decided to continue a federal program temporarily suspending deportations of young people who are in the country illegally. The news thrilled Blanco, an attorney who heads the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center -- the nation's first and only university system to provide free legal aid to students without legal status and their families. But her excitement was quashed within hours, when administration officials clarified that they still had made "no final determination" on the program -- called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA -- leaving in question the fate of 750,000 young immigrants under its protection. An estimated 3,700 students without legal status attend UC campuses. "It's such a roller-coaster ride," Blanco said Saturday.