PRESS RELEASE
NIEA Releases Statement on Trump Administration's Withdrawal of Guidance on Affirmative Action
 
For Immediate Release                                Contact: Leah Salgado:  lsalgado@niea.org

Washington, DC :  Earlier this week the Trump Administration rescinded guidance on affirmative action that the Obama Administration distributed from 2009 through 2016. The guidance was given to higher education institutions and was based on legal opinions from the Supreme and federal courts, but was not solidified through legislation. The Obama guidance had signaled to education institutions that students of color should be welcomed and a diverse campus should be prioritized. By rescinding this guidance, the Trump Administration did not change any law, however it did send an indication to Native, along with other historically under-represented, students that student diversity is not an important goal of higher education or K-12 schools.

The American education system has long excluded Native students and culture. The educational theory of boarding schools was a fundamental part of the education of Native children- Native languages were forbidden and Native spiritual beliefs degraded. For decades, Native students were excluded from education systems, either through policy or discrimination. Native students now attend colleges that provide scholarships, support, and communities that welcome them onto their campuses. NIEA is concerned that the Trump Administration's actions will slow down and impede the progress of diversifying campuses.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Sessions have added another barrier Native students must overcome to succeed. Institutions of higher education are now able to refuse to recognize the importance of Native student enrollment, or worse, decide to exclude Native students from their campuses. NIEA urges institutions of higher education and K-12 schools to stay true to the spirit of the law and ensure that Native students are well-represented and welcomed on their campuses.

NIEA encourages members and Native education advocates to advocate to their representatives. Congressional representatives can protect affirmative action, confirm a Supreme Court candidate that supports affirmative action, and pass legislation that promotes diversity in education. It is important, now more than ever, for Native communities to engage in the democratic process and vote for representatives that protect our students.

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About The National Indian Education Association (NIEA):
NIEA is the Nation's most inclusive advocacy organization advancing comprehensive culture-based educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Formed by Native educators in 1969 to encourage a national discourse on education, NIEA adheres to the organization's founding principles- to convene educators to explore ways to improve schools and the educational systems serving Native children; to promote the maintenance and continued development of language and cultural programs; and to develop and implement strategies for influencing local, state, and federal policy and decision makers. For more information visit www.niea.org.
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