The president and the 10 chancellors of the University of California today (Aug. 30) submitted a "friend of the court" brief in the United States Supreme Court in support of the University of Michigan in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The case challenges the constitutionality of Michigan’s Proposal 2, which, like California’s Proposition 209, prohibits race-conscious measures in college admissions.
As it did last year in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin — another case addressing affirmative action in college admissions — UC filed the amicus curiae brief to inform the court of its 16-year effort to enroll a student body that reflects the broad diversity of California while operating under a constitutional prohibition against race-conscious admissions.
As the brief details, this concerted systemwide effort has been less than completely successful. The brief also provides data challenging assertions made by the petitioner about the effects that Proposition 209 has had on minority students with regard to achieving diversity at, and providing access to, UC. It explains that the major benefits of diversity in higher education extend far beyond the campus.
"The University of California is the nation’s largest highly-selective university system in the nation’s most populous and diverse state," said UC President Mark G. Yudof. "We feel it is incumbent upon us to inform the Court, and the nation, about our ceaseless efforts to enroll a student body that is reflective of our diverse citizenry. We would hope, after 16 years of operating under Proposition 209, that we could report more success. But without the judicious use of tools such as affirmative action we have been unable to do so.”
The UC brief may be accessed at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/documents/UC_Schuette_Amicus_Brief.pdf. A summary of the legal issues presented by the Schuette case is available at www.ucop.edu/general-counsel/_files/legal-advisory/legaladv_121212.pdf.