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College admissions
PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jul 2

Legal Experts: SCOTUS Decision Leaves Affirmative Action ‘Up In The Air’

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to send a case involving the University of Texas at Austin’s race-conscious admissions policy back to a lower court for a second look. We explore what the decision means for affirmative action programs in the nation's colleges and universities.

Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
Fri Mar 29

The Battle Surrounding Affirmative Action Heats Up With U.S. Supreme Court Cases (VIDEO)

As the U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider cases surrounding whether racial background should be a factor for consideration in college admissions, questions about the efficacy of affirmative action programs came up as a topic of discussion during a recent debate between legal academics.

The event, held at the John Marshall Law School, featured UCLA Law Professor Richard Sander, whose 2005 article in the Stanford Law Review is credited for bringing attention to the theory of “mismatch”, which says affirmative action can actually hurt those it was intended to help by allowing them to attend schools for which they are not academically prepared, consequentially causing them to struggle in such institutions.

The theory contends that students with qualifications falling below the standards of a school would be better served if they attended an institution with standards more in line with their academic abilities.

Sander said even that although affirmative action helped to allow more minority students obtain a higher education, it has now drifted from its original mission by focusing more on racial preferences alone, and less on socioeconomic factors.

“We largely see preferences tending to reward students from very affluent backgrounds,” Sander said. “I think affirmative action has strayed from its original intent.”

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