Demos Statement on the Justice Department’s Reported Attack Against Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Release Date: 
August 2, 2017

August 2, 2017 (New York, NY) – In response to reports today that the U.S. Department of Justice plans to investigate higher education institutions’ affirmative action policies, Heather McGhee, President of Demos and Demos Action, issued the following statement.

“Trump’s rhetoric exemplifies the worst of dog whistle politics, using racially charged language to appeal to white voters who feel left behind. In the past six months, the Trump administration has put policies in place that do skew the playing field – including proposing deep cuts to critical safety net programs, overturning key financial reform regulations, and promulgating voter suppression.  

“But today’s news that the Justice Department may be considering an attack against affirmative action is this administration’s most destructive move yet.

“As the Supreme Court itself has ruled, affirmative action policies do not prevent any students from receiving admission into colleges or universities. Instead, they remove the barriers have historically prevented women and young people of color from achieving a higher degree and, in turn, the American Dream. To say anything to the contrary is to deny that race and gender discrimination persist as significant challenges in communities across our nation – a self-defeating fantasy that will only prevent progress.

“Rather than working to build more walls that block the path to opportunity and growth, this administration should be building platforms that empower every American to succeed.

“If this administration chooses not to reverse this new position, we commit to push for forward action, and to fight against this as well as every attempt to move our country back.”