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Supreme Court set to rule on affirmative action in college admissions
May 29, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Should colleges and universities give preference to minority students over white or Asian students in admissions decisions? Many universities currently do, deeming race-based admissions necessary to ensure a diverse student body. However, the Supreme Court may be about to rule the practice unconstitutional.
Abigail Fisher, who is white, sued the University of Texas after she was denied admission. Fisher would have been guaranteed automatic admission to the university if she had graduated in the top 10 percent of her class; instead, she graduated in the top 12 percent. Students who fall outside the top 10 percent were placed in a pool of applicants and could gain admission based on other factors, including accomplishments, ability or family circumstances or race. In her lawsuit, Fisher claims that minority students who had less academic qualifications than she did were admitted to the university and she was not. The lawsuit alleges that this violates the equal protection clause of the constitution. If the Supreme Court rules in Fisher's favor, it has the potential to end affirmative action based on race in college admissions.
This is a complex issue and one that I have mixed feelings about. Affirmative action policies like this one are supposed to level the playing field for bright minority students who didn't have top test scores because of less educational opportunities than or disadvantaged family backgrounds. A student might be very bright and capable indeed, but if he didn't go to a top notch high school, come from a middle income family or have family members who were college educated, he might not do as well on the SATs or ACTs as someone who had more advantages. Colleges also argue that a student body should be diverse, which is beneficial to all students. However, it's kind of interesting that Asians are not counted as a minority when it comes to race-based college admissions. Asian-American students are deemed too successful.
How would you rule in this case?
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