In a groundbreaking decision with far-reaching implications, the Supreme Court has ruled that private and public universities may no longer consider race when making admissions decisions. This overturns the 2003 Grutter v Bollinger ruling, which allowed for affirmative action in college admissions for increased racial diversity.
Previously, race was used as one factor of many to build an inclusive student body, but now students who wish to have their race or culture considered must do so voluntarily by volunteering information about it in their application essay.
The Supreme Court ruling is the result of two cases brought before them; Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) versus the University of North Carolina and SFFA versus Harvard College. The 6-3 decision favored SFFA in both cases, with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson abstaining due to her ties with Harvard.
This ruling has sent shockwaves throughout higher education and beyond. It remains to be seen how institutions will respond, but one thing is certain—this landmark decision will shape the future of college admissions for years to come.
The ruling was based on two prominent cases that questioned the role of race in admissions decisions in both private and public universities.
In Students for Fair Admissions v Harvard College, Mr Blum argued on behalf of a group of anonymous Asian American students who were rejected from Harvard College. They claimed they were denied admission due to their race, going against Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits racial discrimination. Harvard College denies the accusation that it places a quota on the number of Asian American students accepted annually.
SFFA has also filed a similar lawsuit against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), a publicly funded university. Mr Blum represented white and Asian American students who alleged that UNC used race as a deciding factor in admissions decisions and provided preferential treatment to underrepresented minorities. SFFA claims that this practice violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
This landmark ruling has ignited a discussion about the fairness of college admissions and the role of race in higher education.
Over 60 individuals and organisations have come to the universities’ aid with non-partisan briefs, underlining the acute consequences of a ruling in favor of SFFA. As both sides prepare for battle, the public remains divided, with each party expressing their own opinion on the matter.