Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-1 decision that a lower appeals court misinterpreted a precedent when reviewing the admissions policies at UT Austin. Instead of placing a sweeping ruling on affirmative action, the Court decided to send the case back to the U.S Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit for review. The initial lawsuit stems from a lawsuit issued by Abigail Fisher, a white woman who claimed that UT had unconstitutionally discriminated against her because race was a factor in admissions. The Chronicle’s Andrew Luo spoke with Duke students about their impressions on affirmative action in college admissions.
“I don't believe in affirmative action because it perpetuates the concept of minorities as a general representation, rather than a population made up of specific individuals. As a mixed race student, I want to be seen as a human being, not a statistic. When I accomplish something, I want to know that it was done through my own will, not to help a board of trustees exult about how open minded and diversifying they are.”
- sophomore Miles Latham
"I have never been in favor of affirmative action. I’m fine with fostering an environment of a diversity of experiences and myriad backgrounds—just don't do it at the hands of qualified students."
- junior Momin Ghaffar
"Diversity encompasses more than just race, such as socioeconomic status and unique personal or cultural experiences. With that said, being from Queens, NY (one of the most culturally diverse areas on the planet), I couldn't imagine living an environment that didn't espouse different efforts to encourage a diverse learning and living community."
- Junior Caroline Herrmann
“Two people of the same ethnicity can differ greatly, and I think some schools that set quotas for students of specific races are more likely to fall into the trap of stereotyping. Affirmative action is an easier way to add "diversity" to a class, but it sometimes assumes that diversity of race translates into diversity of character, which is not always true. That being said, I think Duke does a good job with this and every minority student I've met during my time here has every reason to be here.”
- sophomore Jason Luo
“My honest opinion is that the system is flawed, but I would also find it problematic if schools don’t at least partially represent the demography of their specific locales. I have been enriched by my Black and Latino friends on campus, and that diversity is one of the main reasons I chose Duke over hometown Berkeley. Insofar as affirmative action helps promote this type of atmosphere, I am willing to work a little harder on my SATs to be able to experience it.”
- junior Vijay Menon
"Affirmative action most definitely has its merits and brings us one step closer to creating a student body that's filled with people from different backgrounds, perspectives on life, and ways of going about solving problems. I think diversity helps students grow as people and to open their mind and eyes to new views on life, but it should never be forced just to have the statistics."
-sophomore Laura Holton
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