SACNAS Statement on U.S. Department of Education Decision to Require Texas Medical School to Stop Considering Race as Admission Criteria

New requirement would have an adverse impact on STEM diversity efforts

WASHINGTON, DC — SACNAS President Dr. Sonia Zárate issued the following statement after several media outlets reported that the medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences (TTUHS) had agreed to stop considering race as a criteria for admission into its medical school:

The agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to use race-neutral admissions practices was entered into willingly by TTUHS. This concession sets an unrealistic precedent that diversifying STEM fields across higher education institutions can be done without taking race into consideration.

For decades, SACNAS and its membership have worked to diversify the STEM fields, supporting scientists from populations historically underrepresented at the undergraduate and graduate level. The Department of Education’s current position on race-neutral admissions would be a set back to the organization’s mission if this is adopted by other institutions of higher education. Institutions of higher education are a gateway, and this new policy could close the door to prospective scientists from diverse communities.

We strongly urge the Department of Education to reconsider its position and instead promote race-conscious policies as a way to achieve the compelling interest of a diverse student body that is prepared and ready to assume positions of leadership, especially in the STEM disciplines.

Dr. Zárate is available for press interviews in English and Spanish. Please contact Yamila Pino to coordinate at 202-660-1433 or

About Dr. Sonia Zárate, President of SACNAS
As the fourth woman to lead the organization in its 45-year history and the first President to have benefitted from SACNAS since she was an undergraduate, she is committed to continuing to lead national efforts to diversify the STEM enterprise and work towards SACNAS’ vision of achieving true diversity in STEM.

For more than 45 years, SACNAS has served as an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanics & Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership within STEM.

Today, the organization serves over 6,000 members and has 115 student and professional chapters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. SACNAS influences a larger STEM community of over 25,000 through outreach, advocacy, and the annual National Diversity in STEM Conference. Learn more about SACNAS on Facebook or Twitter.


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