January 13, 2012

With Fisher looming, UC continues to see increase in minority applicants

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

I stumbled upon this story while reading the Sacramento Bee this afternoon. It appears that African-American and Latino applications to the University of California system have increased (again) this past year. Even as a percentage of total applicants, African-American and Latino applications increased. In fact, the only racial group that has seen a percent decrease in applications to the UC system was whites.

This news is particularly interesting with the Supreme Court conferencing today to decide whether to grant certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas. [We will learn whether cert. was granted early next week.] In that case, the University of Texas is claiming that it needs to use racial preferences in order to achieve a “critical mass” of students from diverse racial groups. But even if you accept that “diversity” should be a compelling state interest, California perfectly demonstrates that you don’t need racial preferences in order to achieve a diverse student body.

Even before the latest UC data came out, PLF elaborated on this point in its amicus brief in Fisher. Since Proposition 209 was adopted in 1996, California Universities have not used race as an admissions factor. Nevertheless, applications, enrollment, and graduation rates for minorities have risen across the UC system. Accordingly, the University of Texas’s claim that it needs to use racial preferences to achieve a diverse student body rings hollow. The Supreme Court needs to grant review in this important case to prevent the unnecessary (and unconstitutional) stereotyping engaged in by Texas and other universities across the country.

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