Williams joins Supreme Court amicus brief supporting use of race in college admissions – The Williams Record

Students for Fair Admissions is set to challenge the admissions practices of the University of North Carolina and Harvard in the Supreme Court. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

When the Supreme Court hears competing cases Students for Fair Admissions vs. Harvard College President and Scholars and Students for Fair Admissions vs. University of North Carolina this fall, respondents will include the College and at least 32 other highly selective private residential colleges among their supporters. On August 3, these colleges and universities – including the 11 NESCAC schools – submitted a amicus curiae Short in favor of higher education institutions using race as a factor in admissions decisions.

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an organization led by conservative legal strategist Edward Blum, seeks to challenge race-conscious admissions. The SFFA v. Harvard case alleges that the university’s admissions practices unduly discriminate against Asian Americans and violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin in any program or activity receiving federal funding. The group’s case against the University of North Carolina (UNC) similarly argues that UNC’s admissions practices violate Title VI and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which mandates equal protection. under the law for all persons under United States jurisdiction.

The court will review the precedent created by Grumble against Bollinger, a landmark 2003 case that upheld the constitutionality of narrowly tailored use of race by admissions offices to obtain educational benefits resulting from diverse enrollment. This precedent, according to the brief, is a critical part of Williams’ admissions decisions.

In their factum, the respondents argue that grutter should be maintained. “In the twenty years since grutter was decided, colleges like friends implemented it in good faith and successfully,” the brief states. “Considering race in admissions as part of a holistic and individualized assessment yields multiple tangible benefits, which would otherwise be inaccessible to friends.” (amici curiaewhich means “friends of the court”, refers to people or organizations who are not parties to a case but who volunteer or are asked to advise on a case before the court.)

The Supreme Court’s nine justices will hear the UNC case; eight of the nine justices will hear Harvard’s case, as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who sits on Harvard’s board of supervisors, said she plans to challenge se.

Many other higher education institutions have also submitted separately amicus curiae briefs in support of respondents. Among these were the remaining Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University, and Johns Hopkins University. Georgetown University, Boston College and more than 50 other Catholic colleges and universities also submitted a amicus curiae brief together.

Williams’ memoir argues that diversity enhances students’ problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities, as well as their cultural and social awareness, civic engagement, and concern for the public good. “These benefits are shared by all students, regardless of race,” he says. “Indeed, diversity not only benefits educational institutions, but also society as a whole.”

According to Dean of Admissions Liz Creighton ’01, while the College has many racially neutral initiatives — like a partnership with QuestBridge and a fully funded financial aid program — grutter is essential for the College to continue to enroll the highly diverse student body that is central to its educational mission.

The dissertation, initiated by Amherst College, was completed over the summer, President Maud S. Mandel wrote in an email to Registration. By providing the College’s support, Mandel said she hopes to preserve the freedom of Harvard and Williams to make admissions decisions.

“In a society where race still matters, our experience shows that such holistic consideration is the best way to build the vibrant and diverse academic community that is essential to our educational mission,” she wrote. “That’s what we’re trying to protect.”

Sunny Hu ’24, co-chair of Asian American Students in Action (AASiA), said the organization supports affirmative action and the college’s decision to sign the brief. “We insist that color blindness in college admissions only serves to further privilege white applicants by ignoring and reinforcing racial inequality in our education system and society,” Hu wrote in a statement. to Registration.

“Edward Blum claims to be advocating on behalf of the Asian American community, when in fact he has a history of challenging suffrage and diversity in education that suppresses minorities,” Hu continued. “We refuse to be used as a political tool for the SFFA agenda.”

Blum has taken a number of other cases to the Supreme Court, including Shelby County vs. Holderin which the Court narrowly struck down a piece of the Voting Rights Act that required special scrutiny of states with a history of voter discrimination.

According to Creighton, it is difficult to predict how the Supreme Court will decide and how this decision will subsequently affect the College’s admissions process. “All we can say – as we explained in the brief – is that any narrowing of schools’ discretion to make such decisions based on their educational goals and needs will be deleterious,” he said. she said in a statement. Registration. “So in the months ahead, we will focus on continuing to review and improve our admissions policies and practices to ensure they best support the College’s mission.”

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