UNC sued for use of race in admissions

UNC Not Fair


Edward Blum must have found his plaintiffs.

Blum is the retired stockbroker who, with the financial backing of several conservative donors, has been pumping named plaintiffs into some recent high-profile civil rights challenges that have landed before the U.S. Supreme Court — namely, the Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case and the Shelby County v. Holder voting rights case.

Over the past year or so, through his Project on Fair Representation, Blum has targeted the admission practices of  three universities — UNC-Chapel Hill, Harvard University,and the University of Wisconsin — inviting students who were rejected by those schools to contact the project.

On websites set up for each school — at, for example — the group poses this question: “Were you denied admission to the University of North Carolina? It may be because you’re the wrong race.”

Today the group announced the filing of two separate lawsuits against Harvard and UNC – Chapel Hill, respectively, alleging that the schools unlawfully used racial and ethnic classifications in admissions.

The UNC complaint, filed in Greensboro, begins with this: “This is an action brought under the Fourteenth Amendment and federal  civil rights laws to prohibit UNC-Chapel Hill from engaging in intentional discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity.”

The cases represent the first step in a long march towards a hoped-for U.S. Supreme Court ban on all forms of racial and ethnic preference in university admissions, according to SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston:

The basic thrust of the new lawsuits is that Harvard and the flagship university in North Carolina are using admissions programs that cannot satisfy the tough constitutional test for judging race-based policy — “strict scrutiny.”  But their broader theme is that the Supreme Court’s affirmative action efforts beginning with the Bakke ruling have failed to end racial bias in admissions programs, so it is now time to overrule Bakke and at least one other decision.


[T]he Harvard and UNC lawsuits clearly were prepared to build a case in lower courts so that, perhaps two or three years from now, the lawsuits could reach the Supreme Court for an ultimate test of affirmative action, at least in college admissions.

Read the full UNC complaint here.




  1. Sean D Sorrentino

    November 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I hope they win.

    “Not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    People used to believe that, once.

  2. david esmay

    November 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    People used to believe in Jim Crow laws also, what’s your point?

  3. ncsense

    November 17, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I haven’t read the complaint yet, but most of these complaints seem to be based on the false assumption that admission to a competitive university should be based on test scores and GPA alone. The plaintiffs’ argument comes down to a feeling that they were entitled to admission ahead of an African-American with lower scores. Except admissions to these universities was never strictly a numbers game — not before affirmative action and not after. (Otherwise, how would George W. Bush have ever gotten into Yale?) Unfortunately, some good students have a hard time accepting the fact that they just didn’t look all that special to the admissions office.

  4. Sean D Sorrentino

    November 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Well, David, if you can’t see the difference between believing in vile racist laws and believing in the words of the man who demolished those laws with the force of his decency, I really can’t help you.

    But thanks for letting us know that you really don’t believe in racial equality. I’ve always suspected it, but it’s nice to have my worst fears confirmed.

  5. Gene Hoglan

    November 17, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    I guess it’d hold water if Asian Americans weren’t vastly overrepresented as a percentage of the UNC student body. If anyone should be upset it should be African Americans who are woefully underrepresented.

  6. Insupport

    November 18, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I’m a strong supporter of Diversity, but to negatively alter the trajectory of a persons life based on their race is where I draw the line. True colorblind equality means race neutrality, no child should be held back of their full potential or penalized because based on their race.

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