Fifteen years after California voters decided to eliminate race and ethnicity as considerable factors in university admissions, many of the state’s selective public colleges and graduate schools have struggled to assemble diverse student bodies.
California was the first state to ban the use of race and ethnicity in public university admissions, as well as hiring and contracting.
Universities around the country could soon face the same challenge.
According to the Associated Press , the issue of affirmative action is once again on the U.S. Supreme Court docket.
This re-visitation of the issue comes less than a decade after the high court endorsed the use of race as a factor in college admissions.
In Feb., the court agreed to take up the case of Abigail Fisher, a white woman who sued the University of Texas in 2008 over claims she was rejected by the university because of its race-conscious admissions policy.
In Texas, students in the top 10 percent of high schools are automatically admitted to the public university system, a policy that does not consider race but increases racial diversity in part because so many high schools are racially homogenous.
Fisher missed that cutoff at her high school in Sugar Land, causing her to be placed in a separate pool of applicants who can be admitted through a complicated system in which race plays an unquantified but significant role.
Fisher is currently a senior at Louisiana State University.
The New York Times reports that lawyers for the University of Texas said that meant she had not suffered an injury that a court decision could address, meaning she does not have standing to sue.
The justices are expected to hear arguments this fall.
College officials are concerned today's more conservative court could limit or even ban the consideration of race in admissions decisions.
The effects of California's ban, Proposition 209, are most evident at University of California, Berkeley campus, according to the Associated Press.
With affirmative action outlawed, Asian American students have dominated admissions.
The freshman class admitted to UC Berkeley this coming fall is 30 percent white and 46 percent Asian, according to newly released data
The share of admitted Asians is four times higher than their percentage in the state's K-12 public schools, according to the AP.
Only 15 percent of Berkeley students are Hispanic, while the freshman class is less than 4 percent African Americans.
UC Berkeley officials reportedly said it is hard to find large numbers of underrepresented minorities competitive enough for Berkeley.
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