On Wednesday, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke to the Associated Press about comments that she made earlier in the year suggesting that historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were “pioneers” of choice.
“When I talked about it being a pioneer in choice it was because I acknowledge that racism was rampant and there were no choices,” DeVos, who has been the Education Secretary for six months after a controversial confirmation involving a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, said. “These HBCUs provided choices for Black students that they didn’t have.”
She continued on to say that HBCUs were the “only choice” for Black students in the past and she “should have decried much more forcefully the ravages of racism in this country.”
The AP also asked her about whether race should play a role in admissions to college. It’s a fair question, considering the recent announcement by the current Justice Department that it will be looking into whether affirmative action is discriminatory after a coalition of Asian-American groups alleged that Harvard‘s admissions process was discriminating against Asian-Americas.
“Well, they are looking at that, that is a factor today,” DeVos said. “I am not going to debate that, I am not going to discuss that.”