Supreme Court Will Hear Challenges To Race In U.S. Universities Admissions

For the third time in the last decade, the Supreme Court will review the use of race-based admissions policies in colleges and universities after the advocacy group Students for Fair Admissions again filed lawsuits. The cases concern admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Both are accused of discrimination against Asian American applicants. In 2020, Asians made up 21.4% of the Harvard undergraduate population while only comprising 5.9% of the U.S. population. However, according to Students for Fair Admissions, if admissions were governed by traditional academic measures, without race being a factor, even more Asian Americans would be accepted.

These lawsuits challenge the well-established efforts to increase diversity at the most elite schools and ease access for Black, Hispanic, and other marginalized students through what they describe as a holistic admissions policy. While courts have traditionally protected race-conscious admissions policies, it remains to be seen whether these legal protections will continue to hold, or if the Supreme Court will open the way for an end to these practices. Either way, a decision is expected by mid-2023.

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