Students alarmed after report Justice Department plans to sue schools over affirmative action

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Civil rights advocates, students and school officials in Southern California said Wednesday reports that the Justice Department could be taking legal action against universities over affirmative action is alarming.

The New York Times reported obtaining an internal document announcing a project on "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in colleges and university admissions"

A Department of Justice spokesperson told Eyewitness News such reports are inaccurate and also said in part: "The posting sought volunteers to investigate one administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations in May 2015 that the prior administration left unresolved."

It added that it's committed to protecting all Americans from all forms of legal race-based discrimination.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Dennis Parker said the Supreme Court clearly supports considering race in admissions.

"No. 1 is that the Supreme Court has made clear that it is legal and constitutional to consider race as one factor in admissions as long as it's part of a carefully considered program," he said.

In California, proposition 209 banned race-based affirmative action back in 1996.

The UC system said it has increased its outreach efforts to historically underrepresented groups like Latinos and African-Americans.

University of California, Los Angeles students weighed in on the matter. Student Juliet Lee said minority underrepresentation remains a problem.

"There are still minorities that are underrepresented, even in Asian community, and I think it's better to reanalyze and refocus on what the real problem is," she said.
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