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Texas Tech Medical School, Under Pressure From Education Dept …

Posted: April 14, 2019 at 11:48 am

Soon after, the Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and Texas Tech University, the undergraduate campus in the Texas Tech system, announced that they would begin considering race in admissions. Mr. Clegg challenged the decision on the ground that race should be used only as a last resort.

But for the fall 2014 class, the undergraduate campus removed any consideration of race in admissions. As a result, the Education Department dismissed the case.

The department continued to investigate the Health Sciences Center, and found that the medical school was continuing to use race-conscious admissions, according to documents in the case.

The policies had a significant effect on the makeup of the medical school. Enrollment went from 9 percent Hispanic in the class that entered in 2004 to 16 percent in the class that entered in 2018. The university said that it was trying to recruit more Hispanic students in part to send more people to practice medicine in underserved communities in West Texas, according to documents in the case.

Mr. Clegg said the investigation, which had begun during the George W. Bush administration, had lasted through the Obama years, which suggests that even under a liberal Democratic administration, there were problems with admissions practices.

The medical school defended race-conscious admissions by saying it needed to recruit students who showed the cultural sensitivity that would allow them to serve racially diverse patients, according to a letter from the Education Departments civil rights office. Federal officials were concerned that the medical schools admissions process violated civil rights law.

Eric D. Bentley, vice chancellor and general counsel of the Texas Tech University System, said in a letter to the civil rights office that while the medical school believed it was in compliance with the law, it was agreeing to stop using race in admissions in an effort to resolve this matter and focus on educating future health care providers.

The decision was effective March 1, according to the agreement, and set a deadline of Sept. 1 to revise all admissions and recruitment materials to reflect the changes. It did not, the agreement said, constitute an admission that the university had run afoul of civil rights law.

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