Supreme Court weighs legality of race-based admissions

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard arguments on Tuesday over whether or not universities may consider race as a factor in the admissions process.

The case focuses on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative or Proposal 2, which currently bans Michigan state schools from applying affirmative action in deciding who may attend, according to the conservative news website, Newsmax

MSU no longer asks about race but instead the life circumstances of each applicant.   

In 2013, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that proposal unconstitutional, arguing that administrators already showed favoritism to a number groups including alumni and donors, The Wall Street Journal reported. In an appeal, however, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled with the opposite point of view

A ruling on the case is not expected for several months, but its outcome will have an enormous impact on how most schools conduct their admissions, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Many who oppose Prop 2 argue the law hurts minority students by preventing them from receiving special consideration during the admission process, which they say is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, according to the Free Press.

Those in favor of Proposal 2, however, claim that when it is upheld, the ruling is likely to strengthen those fighting against affirmative action policies all over the nation.  

African-American enrollment at Michigan’s public universities has already been negatively affected by Proposal 2, according to Newsmax. The number of minority freshman at the University of Michigan (U-M) has dropped from 6.1 percent in 2006 to 4.4 percent in 2012, and at Michigan State University (MSU) freshman minorities dropped to 6.2 percent from 8.8 percent.  

Admissions director at MSU, James Cotter, confirmed with Newsmax that at MSU, applications no longer inquire about race, but instead ask about life circumstances of each applicant.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AEdwardsCRO

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