But the protest move, which is being taken by the University of California-Berkeley students who hope to incite the administration to reconsider its admissions policy, is just one piece of a larger puzzle surrounding race-based admissions policies across the country.
While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that colleges cannot use race as a deciding factor in admitting students, federal judges ruled last December in cases against the University of Michigan and the University of Washington law school that university officials can legally consider an applicant's race in determining admission.
But last week a district court judge ruled that admissions policies at the University of Michigan law school were unconstitutional because they relied too heavily on race.
Officials at many universities, including UNC, said they do not focus solely on an applicant's race.
Herb Davis, UNC associate director of undergraduate admissions, said UNC officials consider many factors besides race including socioeconomic status. "We like to think our whole process is affirmative action because we're looking at all types of people."
But students nationwide say more is needed to ensure campus diversity.
Monique Limon, recruitment director for the RAZA Recruitment and Retention Center at the UC-Berkeley, said university officials could further promote diversity on campuses by repealing SP-1 -- a policy passed in 1995 that prevents schools from using racial, gender and economic factors in admitting students.
Limon, a Berkeley senior and member of the last class to be admitted under the old affirmative action policy, said she has noticed a significant difference in the racial makeup of the student population since she arrived at Berkley.
She said while Latino students represented 14 percent of the student body when she first enrolled, that figure now represents the total percentage of minority students on the Berkeley campus.