The University of North Carolina is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) organization, alleging that the university uses race as a factor in its admission decisions.
The university filed written arguments in a federal court last Friday, claiming that the lawsuit does not have enough substance and that its policies governing admission meet constitutional requirements, The News & Observer reported.
“In its academic judgment, the university has determined that pursuing the educational benefits of diversity is integral to fulfilling its mission to prepare the next generation of leaders,” the arguments filed by the university state.
In its own filings, the student group has alleged the university of using unconstitutional practices when it comes to admitting students.
“UNC’s use of race is the opposite of individualized; UNC uses race mechanically to ensure the admission of the vast majority of underrepresented minorities,” its statement reads.
In a letter to UNC community members, chancellor Carol L. Folt shrugged off the allegations and said that the “admissions policies and practices comply with the spirit and letter of the law.”
“The lawsuit, filed in 2014, entered a new phase today that includes public legal filings,” Folt wrote. “We will continue to vigorously defend our position in this nationally significant case.”
The lawsuit was originally filed by SFFA in 2014 against UNC and Harvard, accusing both universities of utilizing a system aimed at maintaining a virtually unalterable proportion of students from different ethnic groups.
The suit against Harvard went to trial in October 2018 and ended in November. Both sides are expecting a ruling in their favor.
A similar lawsuit was filed in November 2018 against University of California system by academic Richard Sander, alleging the school of using race as criteria in admission procedures. Sander suspects that the university introduced race as a factor in admissions after it received flak over declining enrollment of black and Hispanic students.