Last week, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program for Public Discourse began its 2023 series of public discussions with a panel on affirmative action in university admissions.
This week, that discussion is available in its entirety on the program’s YouTube channel.
In late October the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in cases over affirmative action in admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill and Harvard University, the nation’s first publicly funded university and its oldest private university respectively. In arguments lasting nearly six hours the court’s new conservative majority gave the impression they are leaning toward plaintiffs fighting to end the practice, with potential broad consequences for university diversity programs of all kinds. A ruling is still pending.
UNC Law Professor Ted Shaw, director of the Center for Civil Rights, moderated the panel and weighed in throughout the discussion himself. He was joined by panelists Glenn Loury, professor of Economics at Brown University; John McWhorter, contributing writer at The New York Times and associate professor of linguistics at Columbia University and Rachel F. Moran, Law Professor at the University of California at Irvine.
“You couldn’t have a more important question,” Loury said of what hangs in the balance in the current Supreme Court case. “I’ve been studying these questions since I was in graduate school. That was a half century ago. The country’s gone through many changes and evolutions and so on. It was Sandra Day O’Connor in  who said ‘I hope we won’t be in this business 25 years from now.’ We’re pretty close to 25 years now. We’re still in this business.”