Court rules that UNC can consider race in admissions
CHAPEL HILL, NC (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that North Carolina’s flagship public university may continue to consider race as a factor in its undergraduate admissions, ruling against a group that argued the practice disadvantaged white and Asian students.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs ruled late Monday that the University of North Carolina has shown that it has a compelling reason to pursue a diverse student body and has demonstrated that measurable benefits come from that goal.
“In sum, the Court concludes that UNC has met its burden in demonstrating that it has a genuine and compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits of diversity,” Biggs wrote.
Students for Fair Admissions sued UNC in 2014, arguing that its admissions practices violated the equal protection cause of the Constitution and federal civil rights law. The group argued that UNC had gone too far in using race as a factor in admissions and had thus “intentionally discriminated against certain of (its) members on the basis of their race, color, or ethnicity.”
UNC countered that its admission practices are permissible under the law and that race-neutral alternatives would not allow it to achieve its diversity goals.
Students for Fair Admissions has pursued a similar lawsuit against Harvard, and is challenging an appellate denial in that case to the U.S. Supreme Court.