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Supreme Court rules against race-conscious admissions at Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill

Supreme Court rules against race-conscious admissions at Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill

Higher Ed Dive

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
June 29, 2023
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that race-conscious admissions practices at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are unconstitutional, shattering decades of legal precedent and upending the recruitment and enrollment landscape for years to come.
Higher education pundits widely anticipated the high court’s conservative bloc would curtail race as an admissions consideration, which the Supreme Court first deemed permissible in the 1978 decision in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.
Nevertheless, Thursday’s majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, was a gut punch for enrollment managers, college administrators, high school counselors and racial advocacy groups who feared it would send a dissuasive message to marginalized applicants — that they are not welcome in the postsecondary education world.
Legal scholars and higher ed leaders emphasized Thursday they were still wading through the 237-page court ruling and figuring out how they could apply it on campuses.
The opinion seemingly leaves wiggle room for college admissions offices to acknowledge how students’ race contributed to hardships or affected their character, “universities may not simply establish through application essays or other means the regime we hold unlawful today,” Roberts wrote.
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