A federal judge ruled Monday (October 18) that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue to factor in race into its admissions process.
The race-based admission process was challenged by a conservative nonprofit group called Students for Fair Admissions who said the policy is unfair and unconstitutional. The group has brought challenges to colleges around the country.
"While no student can or should be admitted to this university, or any other, based solely on race," Judge Loretta Biggs wrote in her decision, "because race is so interwoven in every aspect of the lived experience of minority students, to ignore it, reduces its importance and measure it only by statistical models," which the group had done, "misses important context."
Students for Fair Admissions has pledged to appeal the decision, making the case inch closer to the US Supreme Court. If it makes it there, the group's founder, Edward Blum said they would "ask the justices to end these unfair and unconstitutional race-based admissions policies."
The legal precedent for race-based college admissions policies was first established in 2003 after the Supreme Court ruled that the University of Michigan Law School didn't violate the US Constitution by giving consideration to applicants from historically-oppressed groups, as long as other factors were considered, too.
"This decision makes clear that the university's holistic admissions approach is lawful," Beth Keith, UNC's associate vice chancellor said in a statement. "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 background can excel and thrive."
According to data from the University, of the 5,630 students admitted to UNC for the 2021-2022 school year, 65% percent were white, 21% were Asian or Asian American, 12% were Black, 10% were Hispanic, and 2% were Native American.