Supreme Court May Hear New Challenge to Affirmative Action

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Supreme Court justices will likely agree to hear an affirmative action case of a White student who said she was denied admission to a top college due to her race, according to a New York Times report. A decision on whether affirmative action will be eliminated in public universities could be made by June.

Abigail Fisher, a White student, said she was not accepted by the University of Texas in favor of more diverse but less-qualified candidates, who the campus considers a minority. The lawsuit challenges whether policies and procedures at UT, which grants preferences to students based on race, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

John A. Payton, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, told The New York Times that studies show diversity is needed in colleges and universities.

“There is no longer any doubt as to the educational benefits of racially diverse students learning together and from each other,” he said.

But Peter Wood, the author of “Diversity: The Invention of a Concept” and a critic, said there is a problem with the educational value placed on racial diversity.

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“The part of diversity that matters to me and a lot of academics is the intellectual diversity of the classroom,” he said. “The pursuit of a genuine variety of opinions that are well thought through and well grounded is essential. But that has an off-and-on, hit-or-miss connection with ethnic and racial diversity.”