Northwestern emphasizes use of holistic admissions process in wake of federal Affirmative Action scrutiny

Julia Esparza, Reporter

In light of the Trump administration announcing its intent to re-examine Affirmative Action, Northwestern is upholding its commitment to using a “holistic process” in admissions decisions.

According to a report by The New York Times, the U.S. Justice Department plans to direct civil rights division resources into “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The internal memo sparked debate across the country on college admissions practices.

University spokesman Al Cubbage said NU uses an all-inclusive approach in its admissions decisions.

“When we evaluate applicants for undergraduate admission, we look at a number of different factors — academic strengths, what they can bring to the community, all kinds of things,” Cubbage told The Daily.

The Trump administration memo did not specify who they believe affirmative action targets, but proponents and critics of the program believe it helps individuals of historically marginalized groups, like black and Latino students, according to The New York Times. However, some believe the policy is a disadvantage for Asian-Americans.

According to the University’s Report on Faculty, Staff and Student Diversity and Inclusion, in the 2016 academic year, African-American students composed 8.6 percent of the 2015 incoming class and Hispanic/Latino students made up 14 percent of that class.

Those numbers changed slightly for the Class of 2020, with 8.5 percent of students identifying as black or African-American and 13.6 percent identifying as Hispanic or Latino. Asian-American students and white students made up 20 percent and 46 percent of the class, respectively.

Cubbage said the University did not have details on what the Trump administration’s plans entail.

But, according to the University’s Human Resources website, the University “actively seeks women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities to maintain a University community that is based on equal opportunity, reflects the diversity of American society, and improves opportunities for women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities.”

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