CHAPEL HILL, N.C. Local Charlotte News — US District Judge Loretta Biggs ruled the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill did not discriminate against white and Asian American applicants in a case challenging race as a factor in student admission.
This lawsuit was filed by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), who is also pursuing a similar case against Harvard University. The case went to trial for eight days in November 2020.
Kenny Xu, a member of SFFA spoke to us regarding “unmeasured racial discrimination.” He said, “What about all these Asian applicants who also have to overcome these racial barriers? It’s like trying to measure levels of discrimination and no one in America has been able to do that.”
He thinks it hurts everyone when people get in who aren’t competitive enough to thrive at the particular school. Saying it leads to higher dropout rates, higher major-switching, and higher rates of depression in students.
Xu acknowledges racial strife at schools. “There are racial issues going on in campus which furthers my point. We need to move away from this racialized treatment of applicants. Now it looks like race is being used even before you get to college.”
Xu explained their case against Harvard may go in tandem in front of the US Supreme Court and expounded on the issue particular to Asian Americans. “What we know from the Harvard case is that Asian Americans have to score 450 points higher on SAT to have same chance of admission as a black person and 150 points higher on SAT to have same chance of admission than as a white person.”
Xu is not against affirmative action as a whole. “I think affirmative action for the sake of getting people to the bar is acceptable and good; I don’t think racial preferences is the way to do it.”
While this program will stand, it will also be subject to periodic reassessment.
Justice Biggs found UNC does not engage in discriminatory practices and has met its burden in demonstrating, “a genuine and compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits of diversity” and “the educational benefits sought by the University are concrete and measurable”
Here is the university’s statement on Justice Biggs’ decision:
“This decision makes clear the University’s holistic admissions approach is lawful. We evaluate each student in a deliberate and thoughtful way, appreciating individual strengths, talents and contributions to a vibrant campus community where students from all backgrounds can excel and thrive.”
Beth Keith, Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of University Communications
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