Recently, the news has been inundated with updates on President Trump’s impeachment inquiry. It’s everywhere. But something that's more relevant to UNC and college students also happened last week — a federal judge decided that Harvard University can still use race in their admissions process.
This is big news. The decision is part of the greater debate around affirmative action going on in higher education in the U.S. Students for Fair Admission (SFFA), the group that sued Harvard, also sued UNC in 2014. SFFA sued both universities on the grounds that their admissions practices unfairly discriminate against white and Asian applicants by giving advantages to Black, Latino and other minority groups. SFFA wants to eliminate race from being used in admissions practices.
The result of that case could not only affect the student body at UNC, but also set a precedent for public universities across the U.S.
Harvard’s victory last week is important for ensuring diversity and representation on college campuses. Eliminating race from the admissions process would wipe out important aspects of students’ lived experiences which contribute to, but do not wholly define, their learning at universities.
At its core, affirmative action was put in place to ensure that minority groups were guaranteed representation in working environments and schools. Using race, admission offices can evaluate applicants to ensure the incoming class resembles the population they serve.