UNC faces a lawsuit alleging discriminatory admissions based on race

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC) was in court on November 9 to defend its admission practices.

A lawsuit was filed by the non-profit group Students for Fair Admissions.

Students for Fair Admissions filed a lawsuit against UNC back in 2014. The lawsuit is now going to trial in 2020 and is accusing the school of favoring Black and Hispanic applicants over Asian and white applicants.

The non-profit group Students for Fair Admissions describes itself as a “group of more than 20,000 students, parents, and others who believe that racial classifications and preferences in college admissions are unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional.”

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The lawsuit states that UNC is “engaging in intentional discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity,” and accuses the university favors Black and Hispanic applicants over qualified Asian and White applicants. 

The lawsuit said that “UNC-Chapel Hill, like all other colleges and universities, labels every applicant by race.” 

“Rather, UNC-Chapel Hill’s racial preference for each underrepresented minority student (which equates to a penalty imposed upon white and Asian-American applicants) is so large that race becomes the ‘defining feature of his or her application.’ Only using race or ethnicity as a dominant factor in admissions decisions could, for example, account for the disparate treatment of high-achieving Asian-American and white applicants and underrepresented minority applicants with inferior academic credentials,” it stated. 

On November 6th, UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz wrote a memo to the university about the upcoming trial.

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Guskiewicz wrote that the university did not do anything wrong and refuted the lawsuit.

”The facts are clear: Carolina follows the law when we admit each class of outstanding undergraduate students. The University does not use quotas or formulas, and we do not discriminate against any applicant or group in the admissions process. We evaluate each student in a deliberate and compassionate way, appreciating individual strengths, talents, and contributions to the incoming class and our educational environment,” Guskiewicz said.

“We consider a multitude of factors including a candidate’s academic performance, test scores, class rank, essays, and experiences. We also may consider race or ethnicity – as one factor among many – but only if a student chooses to share that information,” he said.

The President of Students for Fair Admissions, Edward Blum told Campus Reform that UNC’s policies are unfair and “unconstitutional.”

“It is unfair, unnecessary and unconstitutional for the Univ. of North Carolina to treat applicants differently because of their race and ethnicity. There are meaningful ways for UNC to create an undergraduate class that includes students of different backgrounds without resorting to racial preferences and penalties. We are hopeful the judge carefully examines the evidence and ruled in favor of SFFA.”

Campus Reform reached out to UNC for additional comment, but we were referred to the Chancellor’s statement. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ashleyecarnahan