A federal judge decided against an anti-affirmative-action group Monday by ruling that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may continue using its holistic admissions process, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an anti-affirmative-action group, sued the university in 2014 alleging that its admissions process considered race in an unlawful way. They claimed it gave an advantage to underrepresented minority students and discriminated against White and Asian students, The New York Times reports.
The university acknowledged it uses race as a factor in its admissions process but denies that it used racial quotas. In 2019, UNC-Chapel Hill’s incoming freshman class was 55.7 percent white, 12.3 percent Asian American, 9 percent Hispanic and 8.9 percent Black.
Judge Loretta Biggs of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled Monday that the university’s use of race in its holistic admissions process was lawful.
“While no student can or should be admitted to this University, or any other, based solely on race, because race is so interwoven in every aspect of the lived experience of minority students, to ignore it, reduce its importance and measure it only by statistical models as SFFA has done, misses important context to include obscuring racial barriers and obstacles that have been faced, overcome and are yet to be overcome,” Biggs wrote in her decision, CNN reports.
In her decision, Biggs also pointed out that analysis brought before the court showed that top-percentile Black students were still getting left out, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. She pointed to the analysis presented by Duke economics professor Peter Arcidiacono, who was SFFA’s expert witness. Biggs says the analysis showed that 3 percent of in-state, top-decile Black candidates were denied admission by Chapel Hill. Only 1.2 percent of white students and 1.8 percent of Asian American students in the top decile were denied.
SFFA says it plans to appeal the decision in the Fourth Court of Appeals and in the U.S. Supreme Court, CNN reports.
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