Appeals Court Throws Out Race-Conscious Admissions Policy At UGA
A federal appeals court late last month declared unconstitutional an admissions policy at the University of Georgia that gave minorities a numerical boost.
The three-judge panel 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling in favor of three White women who were denied admission in 1999.
The appeals court said the policy, which awarded race-based points to borderline students, violated the Constitution’s equal-protection clause.
“A policy that mechanically awards an arbitrary ‘diversity’ bonus to each and every non-White applicant at a decisive stage in the admissions process, and severely limits the range of other factors relevant to diversity that may be considered at that stage, fails strict scrutiny,” the court said.
The university suspended the consideration of race last year as it awaited the court’s decision.
Ninety percent of students at the university were accepted on grades and test scores alone. The policy applied only to the remaining 10 percent, assigning them points on factors ranging from alumni relatives to race, with non-White applicants getting a boost.
Lee Parks, an attorney for the women who challenged the practice, cheered the ruling.
In addition, the number of Black freshmen enrolling at the University of Georgia this fall has declined by 20 percent, despite efforts to recruit more minority students.
Over the past 10 years, the percentage of Black students at Georgia has been between 5.7 percent and 6.9 percent.
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com