Poll: Americans oppose race as a factor in college admission decisions

(The Center Square) – As the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether it should be legal to use race as a factor in college admissions, new polling shows Americans oppose the idea.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 62% of Americans oppose higher education institutions using race as a factor when deciding whom to admit. The majority of Americans favor diversity in higher education, but they don’t support using affirmative action policies to obtain it.

The analysis found 52% of minority respondents surveyed said they opposed using race as a factor.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the matter by June, after one group filed suit against Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill over their race-based admissions policies, pointing out they hurt other students.

As The Center Square previously reported, the schools argue these policies have become common in their field.

“In recent years, surveys have reported that 41.5% of universities, and 60% of universities that admit 40% or fewer of applicants, consider race to some degree,” Harvard said in a legal filing.

Harvard and Carolina are the oldest private and public schools, respectively, in the country.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that colleges may consider race in admissions to help diversify their campuses. That could change, depending on the Supreme Court’s decision.

“But public schools have no legitimate interest in maintaining a precise racial balance, and they have no compelling interest in preventing minor dips in average SAT scores,” Students for Fair Admissions, a group that has led both challenges, wrote in a court filing. “The same Fourteenth Amendment that required public schools to dismantle segregation after Brown cannot be cowed by the diktats of university administrators. If California and Michigan can maintain elite public universities without sorting applicants by race, then North Carolina can, too.”

UNC defended itself in oral arguments, pointing out that it creates diversity across a range of metrics, including admitting more veterans and rural students.

Critics argue race-based affirmative action policies are inherently discriminatory and wrong.

“Since 2014, over 20,000 students, parents and others have joined our membership to help restore colorblind principles to our nation’s schools, colleges and universities,” Students for Fair Admissions said on its website.

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