UC President Mark Yudof and the chancellors of all 10 UC campuses submitted a “friend of the court” brief Monday to the U.S. Supreme Court declaring support for the University of Texas at Austin in a contentious case challenging the use of race in undergraduate admissions.
The case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, involves a white student who claims that the university racially discriminated against her due to its policy of considering race in the admission process.
Currently, however, the UC system does not acknowledge race in its own admissions decisions due to the 1996 passage of Proposition 209, which made it illegal for state-funded institutions to consider factors such as race or ethnicity in admissions or hiring decisions.
“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,” said UC President Mark Yudof about the UC in a press release. “Telling that story is the appropriate thing to do in the context of this legal case.”
The brief, titled “The Limited and Disappointing Results of the University’s Race-Neutral Admissions Initiatives,” describes the UC system’s failure to maintain a racially diverse student body due to race-neutral admissions policies instituted under Prop. 209.
Although the UC has adopted numerous strategies to address the issue of race in higher education, none have “enabled the University of California fully to reverse the precipitous decline in minority admission and enrollment that followed the enactment of Prop. 209, nor to keep pace with the growing population of underrepresented minorities in the applicant pool of qualified high school graduates,” according to the brief.