In a legal battle that could shape the use of race in college admissions for decades to come, Apple, Intel, and Amgen are among more than a dozen companies supporting Harvard University which is fighting a challenge by Edward Blum, an opponent of affirmative action who seeks to stop the university from using race as a criterion in race in college admissions.
Having lost last year, he appealed in February and, if defeated again, is almost certain to seek a review by the newly conservative Supreme Court.
The stakes for business are laid out in a brief the companies have filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston. While they took no position on Harvard’s specific policy, they said they depend on diverse college student bodies in their hunt for “the next superb employee.” They cited a landmark 2003 decision by the high court that universities can use affirmative action to assemble a varied class if they treat race as one factor among many — the centerpiece of Harvard’s lower-court victory.
“As the Supreme Court recognized nearly twenty years ago, ‘the skills needed in today’s increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people,’” the companies wrote in a “friend of the court” brief, quoting the decision… The brief, filed on May 21, was the latest in a series of arguments posed to the court after U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs rejected a lawsuit filed by Blum’s group, Students for Fair Admissions.
Blum said in an email… “Nearly 75% of U.S. citizens of all races oppose the use of race and ethnicity as a factor in college admissions,” he wrote, citing a Pew Research Center poll. “It’s bewildering to witness, yet again, how out-of-step these companies are with the vast majority of Americans.”
In a twist on the epic affirmative action battles of the past, Students for Fair Admissions also said Harvard favored white applicants, and the trial exposed embarrassing details of how far it will go to accommodate the relatives of the biggest donors.
MacDailyNews Note: More info about Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard via Wikipedia here.
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