Protestors both for and against affirmative action gathered this morning outside the Supreme Court as justices inside hear two cases aimed at overturning decades of race-based admissions.
On Sunday, the two sides held separate events-one outside the court and another at a nearby hotel.
Christina Huang is a freshman at the University of North Carolina. Her school’s efforts to diversify its student body after a history of being a bastion of segregation is being challenged by Students for Fair Representation as is a similar program at Harvard.
She told Fortune diversity at the university enhances her education both inside and outside the classroom.
“Culture plays such a big role, especially on UNC’s campus, because you walk around and there’s culture everywhere,” she said. “There’s people dressed up in traditional clothes, fashion shows, people dancing to their different types of music, even the foods we eat — it’s so meaningful. You’d lose so much if we were not to make sure we have that diversity.”
On the steps of the Supreme Court Monday, a group called Asian American Coalition for Education gathered hundreds of supporters in support of the anti-affirmative action lawsuits.
“Using race in college admissions is wrong because it unjustly imposes higher admissions standards,” said the group’s president, Yukong Mike Zhao to the Harvard Crimson.
The lawsuits before the Supreme Court are sponsored by Students for Fair Admissions, a group organized by conservative Edward Blum who has lost nearly every case he has brought before the courts.
However, this Supreme Court now has a conservative majority and has shown its willingness to overturn precedent as it did with the right to abortion recently.
Most established Asian American groups have come out in support of affirmative action.
“Committee of 100 encourages the Supreme Court to uphold the current precedent on race-conscious college admissions that permit race as one of many considerations for admissions. Committee of 100 supports the current law which prohibits quotas, admissions caps, and minimums.“
It did, however, speak out against admissions standards that impose higher entrance requirements on Asian Americans than others.
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus also expressed its support for affirmative action today.
“CAPAC fully supports affirmative action policies that consider race as one factor in a holistic admissions process. These race-conscious policies are critical to promoting campus diversity and closing educational gaps that are due, in part, to the prevalence of systemic racism in our society.”
On the opposite spectrum is the Chinese American Citizens Alliance.
“We’ve seen the data,” said Phil Wong, the group’s president. “Asian Americans are being turned away when they have the grades, they have the test scores. They are being turned away for other races,” he told Fox News.
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