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Governor directs state education officials to continue diversity in admissions policy

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is directing the state university system to continue policies that promote racial diversity among students after the Trump administration said the federal government will let schools leave race out of admission decisions.

The Democratic governor on Thursday directed the chairmen of the boards of trustees of the State University of New York and City University of New York to prepare a report by Aug. 15 on how they will increase diversity on campuses.

Cuomo said the Trump administration's move to rescind affirmative action guidelines is "a blatant attempt to limit the participation of minorities in higher education."

Cuomo said the SUNY system has long embraced diversity and encouraged social mobility. He noted that SUNY is nearly 45 percent minority and CUNY is 76 percent minority.

"This diversity broadens understanding and breaks down barriers and stereotypes, and it ensures all New Yorkers have the opportunity to succeed," Cuomo said.

At the same time, Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia issued guidance on the Trump Administration’s repeal.

“The Board of Regents and State Education Department abhor the Trump administration’s assault on policies that support positive environments for all children," it said. "We live in a multi-cultural country and multi-cultural classrooms provide valuable experiences for all students."

The guidance noted the studies that show diversity in the classroom benefits all students and encouraged other states to "join us in condemning the administration's latest heartless attack on our nation's civil rights."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.