By Ashleen Herrarte
NEW YORK, NY – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Massachusetts and the ACLU of North Carolina filed an amicus brief Monday in the U.S. Supreme Court urging it to uphold universities’ ability to consider race in college admissions.
The ACLU, with the support of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, argued colleges have an interest in student body diversity, which helps further academic freedom and equal protection, and, because of this, the Supreme Court should uphold for higher education institutions to consider race during the admission process.
The amicus brief was filed in two cases, Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. In both cases, Students for Fair Admission (SFFA) seeks to end all race-conscious admission practices.
According to the SFFA website, the nonprofit organization believes racial classifications and preferences in college admission are unfair, unnecessary and unconstitutional.
Sarah Hinger, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice program stated that “ending the consideration of race in college admission would ignore the country’s ongoing challenge of racial inequality and threaten diversity and inclusion on campuses everywhere.”
Hinger emphasized that “race-conscious admission practices help create a diverse student body and enrich the educational experiences of all students. The Supreme Court’s holdings have recognized this for decades, and we urge the court to protect universities’ ability to consider race in the admissions process.”
In a previous Supreme Court case, Fisher v. University of Texas, the court restated diversity is a “compelling government interest” allowing for schools to consider race in the admission of higher education.
The ACLU argues a holistic, race-conscious admission allows for a university’s academic freedom to assemble a diverse student body. SFFA’S proposition to remove race in the admission process conflicts with a universities’ ability to select its student body, said the ACLU.
By allowing the consideration of race in college admissions, the ACLU said, there is equal protection under the constitution to diminish stereotypes, promote integration on college campuses and permit students of all races to participate in the higher education community