Center for Civil Rights, School of Law, UNC-CH General Counsel file amicus brief supporting racial diversity in college admissions

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Dean Boger, center, moderates a panel on Fisher vs. Texas at UNC Law on Constitution Day. From left, Center Managing Attorney Mark Dorosin, Senior Attorney Elizabeth Haddix, Dean Jack Boger, Center Deputy Director Charles Daye, and UNC Vice Provost of Admissions Steve Farmer
CCR staff attorneys Mark Dorosin and Elizabeth Haddix, and UNC School of Law Dean Jack Boger, together with the Office of University Counsel filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“UNC”) in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The case, now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, challenges the limited consideration of race in college admissions and seeks to overturn the Court’s well-established precedents, most recently re-affirmed in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger, that diversity in higher education is a compelling governmental interest.

The amicus brief emphasizes that UNC’s mission is to serve as a center for research, scholarship, and creativity, and to develop the next generation of leaders for our increasingly diverse state. To effectively fulfill this mission, UNC utilizes a highly nuanced, holistic and individualized admissions process that promotes a strong and diverse pool of undergraduates, and provides the maximum educational opportunity for students of every background. The brief notes that as part of its holistic review of applicants, UNC has found that some careful and limited consideration of race is indispensable to fulfilling its mission. Read the brief (PDF).

The brief argues not only that the University’s nuanced admissions process is grounded in its academic judgment and experience that racial diversity improves the education of its students, but that this judgment is supported by empirical research. The brief cites the recently concluded landmark Educational Diversity Project, a 10-year multi-disciplinary research study conducted by four professors, including Center for Civil Rights Deputy Director and UNC Law Faculty member Charles E. Daye. The EDP Study examines diversity’s impacts on individual students, on the campus community as a whole and on graduates’ ability to succeed later in life in diverse communities, and to contribute meaningfully to society. The study concludes that racial diversity among students is a critical component to providing meaningful educational outcomes that benefit students, institutions and society.

UNC argues that its holistic admissions process, including its limited consideration of race, is necessary to achieve its compelling interest in providing meaningful educational benefits and outcomes for its students, its campus and the state. A ruling that would prohibit any consideration of race in college admissions would weaken the overall educational environment, likely exclude strong candidates, and severely undercut the University’s ability to create meaningful diversity on campus.

The case is scheduled for oral argument on October 10.

Read the brief (PDF).

The Educational Diversity Project Study will be published in the summer issue of “Rutgers Race & the Law Review” and is available online at Social Science Research Network.

Posted by Mark Dorosin on Tue. August 14, 2012 2:24 PM
Categories: Amicus Curiae, Education
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