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UC submits brief supporting U of Texas Supreme Court case

President Mark G. Yudof and the 10 chancellors of the University of California on Aug. 13 submitted a “friend of the court” brief in the United States Supreme Court in support of the University of Texas in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The case challenges the use of race in undergraduate admissions decisions.

In filing its amicus curiae brief, UC seeks to inform the court about its efforts to enroll a student body that encompasses the broad diversity of California while for the past 15 years operating under a constitutional prohibition against race-conscious admissions. As the brief details, this concerted systemwide effort at the University of California has been less than completely successful.

“Ours is a unique story that shines a light on the obstacles we face as we seek to enrich the UC educational experience through diversity,” President Yudof said. “The facts tell us the educational and societal benefits from a diverse student body cannot be realized fully at the nation’s largest highly selective university system without the judicious use of tools that take race into account during undergraduate admissions decisions. Telling that story is the appropriate thing to do in the context of this legal case.”

Under the heading, “The Limited and Disappointing Results of the University’s Race-Neutral Admissions Initiatives,” the amicus brief speaks of the “unfortunate reality” that a key finding UC reached years ago still stands. “In a highly selective institution, implementing race-neutral policies leads to a substantial decline in the proportion of entering students who are African American, American Indian and Latino.”

In fall 2011, UC had a total undergraduate and graduate enrollment of more than 235,000 students. The university makes the point that it is broadly comparable in size and importance to the University of Texas system, another of the nation’s largest systems of public higher education, which also has multiple campuses (nine universities, plus six health institutions) and a total enrollment of more than 211,000 students.

>>See the UC brief.

>>See the UT-Austin brief.

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