Judge Refuses to Block Lawsuit Against UNC

Suit challenges admissions policies that consider race in admissions. University questioned legal right of plaintiffs to sue.

October 8, 2018
 

A federal judge has rejected a request from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that a suit challenging its admissions policies be dismissed.

The suit is from Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), the same group that is suing Harvard University in a case that has captured much more attention. Both lawsuits are filed on behalf of students who were not admitted to the universities -- and both suits maintain that the universities go beyond what the Supreme Court has permitted in terms of considering race and ethnicity in admissions. In both cases, the universities sought to have the suits dismissed, questioning whether SFFA could sue on behalf of individual students. But one federal judge rejected that request from Harvard University. And another has now done so with regard to the suit against UNC.

In both cases, the decisions were based on the law about legal standing, not the central allegations in the lawsuits.

A spokeswoman for the university said that the decision will not change Chapel Hill's commitment to the case. The university, she said, "will continue to vigorously defend [itself] on the merits of this case. This lawsuit challenges the university’s ability to educate a diverse community of outstanding students from varied backgrounds and different perspectives. Our admissions process complies with the spirit and the letter of the law."

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