US education secretary praises college’s disavowal of legacy admissions

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona praised a Connecticut university’s elimination of legacy admissions on a visit Friday to discuss the response to the Supreme Court opinion striking down affirmative action in higher education.

The administration has been considering steps it can take to protect diversity on campuses in the wake of the ruling, which took away a tool colleges have used for decades. President Joe Biden has singled out admissions preferences for children of alumni, who are often mostly white, as an issue of concern.

The Education Department has opened a civil rights investigation into legacy admissions at Harvard. On Friday, Cardona declined to say whether he anticipates similar action elsewhere.

“Well, look, the president made it very clear we need to revisit college admission processes in general. And legacy admissions is one of those things,” Cardona told reporters during an appearance at Wesleyan University. “And while we do have an Office for Civil Rights investigation pending there, I will say this is an opportunity for us as a country to really be innovative around how we’re bringing students onto campus, how we’re making them feel connected.”

Wesleyan announced last week that it would no longer give an edge to students with legacy status, joining other colleges that abandoned such policies long ago including Amherst College and Johns Hopkins University. Occidental College said this week it would no longer ask applicants about alumni relationships.

On the Wesleyan visit, Cardona also spoke with a group of first-generation college students about how to make higher education more accessible for people of all backgrounds.


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