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Poll: Majority of Americans Support Keeping Race Out of College Admissions

By    |   Saturday, 22 October 2022 10:46 AM EDT

A Washington Post-Schar School poll reveals that more than 60% of Americans favor a ban on the consideration of race for college admissions.

The survey — which chronicled the opinions of 1,238 adults over a recent four-day period (Oct. 7-10) — comes shortly before the Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments on challenging race-based admissions for college entrance, with Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill going before the justices on Oct. 31.

The Post-Schar poll found that 63% of respondents would support changes to race-conscious admissions. At the same time, 64% also expressed support for more racial diversity with students at the college level.

Also, for the Post-Schar poll, 60% of respondents believe that applicants from high-income families have a decisive advantage with getting into the college of their choice. Along those lines, 62% of surveygoers say prospective students from low-income families are less likely to gain admission into their list of preferred schools.

Justin Gest, an associate professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, said the survey suggests the public craves a middle path to college diversity programs.

"So the message to universities seems to be: Cultivate and champion diversity without discriminating by race and ethnicity," Gest told The Post.

For the lawsuits being heard by the Supreme Court, the Students for Fair Admissions group alleges that Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill practice unlawful discrimination, "putting too much weight on race," to the benefit of Black and Hispanic applicants and to the detriment of white or Asian American applicants.

Both Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill have denied these accusations, and the lower courts previously ruled in the schools' favor.

According to The Post, nine states — including California, Florida and Michigan — already prohibit consideration of race with public university admissions, potentially minimizing the impact of the Supreme Court's prospective ruling.

Plus, The Post reports a large number of schools nationwide accept most or nearly all applicants. 

However, for elite schools along the East Coast, including Ivy League schools, The Post characterizes their admission rates involving minorities as "stunningly low."

In 1978, the landmark University of California v. Bakke case prompted six different opinions from the nine Supreme Court justices. 

As The Post reported, the controlling opinion, by Justice Lewis Powell, established a compromise that remains in play today: Schools and universities may consider race as a factor in admissions, but cannot enforce racial quotas.

"The nation's future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure to the ideas and mores of students as diverse as this nation of many peoples," Powell wrote.

The Post-Schar poll has a margin-of-error rate of 3.5 percentage points.

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A Washington Post-Schar School poll reveals that more than 60% of Americans favor a ban on the consideration of race for college admissions.
college, admissions, poll, race, students, choice
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2022-46-22
Saturday, 22 October 2022 10:46 AM
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