Orgs tell Supreme Court to get race out of college admissions

Speech First and Southeastern Legal Foundation have filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to hear the case Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina.

A lower court has decided that UNC should still be permitted to use race as a factor in college admissions.

Speech First, a group that advocates for college students’ First Amendment rights, has joined with Southeastern Legal Foundation to ask the Supreme Court to end race discrimination in college admissions.

The two organizations jointly filed an amicus brief in the case of Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina (SFFA v. UNC). They write, “The Court should vindicate the cause of free speech on campus by abandoning the theory that racial discrimination is worth tolerating in higher education because it supposedly advances First Amendment goals.”

[RELATED: Court allows UNC to keep using race as admissions factor]

As Campus Reform has reported, a federal court in North Carolina ruled in October that UNC is permitted to continue using race as a factor in admissions. Students for Fair Admissions appealed the ruling, though the Supreme Court has not yet said whether it will take up the case.

Speech First and Southeastern Legal Foundation also note that affirmative action has “not ushered in an era of greater exchange of ideas – about race or any other topic – on college campuses.” They write, “Campus speech has come under assault in recent decades. Studies show that students routinely censor themselves on sensitive topics, lest they be accused of violating a speech code or being reported to a roving ‘bias response team.’”

Cherise Trump, executive director of Speech First, said, “Universities must be held accountable to the U.S. Constitution…The Supreme Court should grant the petition recognizing that universities are not separate from the rest of society; they are not exempt from our laws and our nation’s most fundamental principles.”

CeCe O’Leary, attorney and 1A project director at Southeastern Legal Foundation, told Campus Reform that “The time has come for our courts to stop allowing courts to admit or deny college admission based on race, which only undermines the advancements our country has made toward the noble and proper goal of being a color-blind nation and instead promotes discrimination.”

[RELATED: SCOTUS delays action on Harvard affirmative action case]

SFFA v. UNC bears striking similarities to SFFA v. Harvard, in which SFFA is suing Harvard for discriminatory recruiting and admissions practices. The Supreme Court has not yet decided if it will hear the case. 

UNC is far from the only public university that uses race as a factor in deciding which applicants to admit. Campus Reform has reported that the University of Virginia, Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin are using race in admissions as well. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito