AACE and AALF Jointly Urge the Supreme Court to Take UNC Case and Ban Anti-Asian Discrimination in College Admissions

By | December 15, 2021

For Immediate Release

December 15, 2021

Livingston, New Jersey: On December 15, 2021, the Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE), in collaboration with the Asian American Legal Foundation (AALF), filed an Amicus Brief with the United States Supreme Court, urging the Supreme Court to ban anti-Asian discrimination in the student admission policy implemented by a private colleges (i.e. Harvard University) and a public college (i.e. University of North Carolina, or UNC).

This filing shows our continuous, strong support of Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), which filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court to review UNC’s admissions program and race-based college admissions in general.

In the amicus brief, our arguments are summarized as the following:

“The record below demonstrates that UNC’s race conscious admissions program, which grants preferences to certain favored minorities, discriminates against Asian American and white applicants to UNC’s colleges. As with Harvard and certain other selective institutions, UNC’s racial discrimination is carried out in the name of diversity but the result is the same—discrimination against individual applicants who are of non-favored races.

UNC’s audacious discrimination is not subtle. The evidence shows an in-state male Asian American candidate whose statistical chances of admission are 25% based on grades and other metrics would have a 63% chance of admission if treated as Hispanic and a 88% chance of admission if treated as black.

UNC’s policy which lumps up all Asian Americans into one disfavored group, not only shows their lack of diversity, but also ignores the fact that Asian Americans comprise at least 20 distinct ethnic groups, each with its own cultural heritage. Such treatment of Asian American applicants as “faceless” members of a disfavored “overrepresented” race is reminiscent of the negative stereotyping historically used to justify persecution of Asian Americans. It also echoes what Harvard did in the 1920s to keep Jewish Americans from being “overrepresented” on its campus. And, just as past anti-Semitic slurs spawned violence against Jews, today’s libel similarly promotes violence against Asian Americans. See Cady Lang, Hate Crimes against Asian Americans are on the Rise, Time (Feb. 18, 2021), found at https://time.com/ 5938482/Asian American-attacks/ (last visited 12/9/2021).

Throughout their long history in this country, Asian Americans faced discrimination rationalized by depicting them as featureless members of a “yellow horde,” lacking the human attributes of other Americans and not deserving to be treated on their own merits as individuals. It is thus sad to see Asian Americans again subjected to negative stereotyping and discrimination—this time by UNC and respected educational institutions. This widespread discrimination, copied across the nation, causes real and tangible harm, resulting in Asian American children feeling a sense of inferiority, fury, indignation, and hopelessness in their academic endeavors, knowing they are likely to face additional hurdles to college admission just because of their ethnicity. This is an unconcealed example of “Racial discrimination”.

UNC’s program should be stopped. Universities should not be allowed to use race conscious admissions in a misguided effort to hide failures in K12 education, something that fails to address the root causes of the problem while trammeling the rights of individuals. This case and the similar case of Harvard admissions illustrate that, exactly as this Court has repeatedly declared, distinctions based on race are “odious” to a free people and should not be allowed except where necessary to remedy prior illegal use of race. If the present trend of imposing unneeded racial distinctions is allowed to continue, it will not stop with university admissions but will permeate all aspects of American society, with grave consequences for our future.

This Court should grant certiorari so that it can hear this case together with the Harvard admissions case, and clarify the standards applicable to a university’s use of race.”

It is important to point out that the use of race in college admissions is misguided and ineffective. It is at best a “Band-Aid” that conceals rather than addresses the real root causes behind a lack of diversity on many college campuses—the abysmal status of K-12 education in too many minority communities. The Race-preferential college admission policy actually benefits more students from well-off and new immigrant families of favored minorities than those growing up in America’s disadvantaged communities. As a result of such failing policies, according to a New York Times article published on August 24, 2017, “Even with Affirmative Action, blacks and Hispanics are more underrepresented at top universities than 35 years ago.”

AACE president, Mr. Yukong Mike Zhao said: “Today, with the rising violence and hate crimes, vulnerable Asian Americans are viciously attacked and even murdered in the streets of American cities. On the top of that, many colleges nationwide, including UNC, still use race-based admission practices to systematically discriminate against Asian American children. It is a shame that in the 21st century the America’s ruling class still use our children as politicians’ scapegoat for failures in lifting K-12 education in too many black and Hispanic communities. This is a blatant violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and 1964 Civil Rights Act. It’s time for the U.S. Supreme Court to step up to protect our constitutional rights and to treat our community fairly!”

The link to the updated amicus brief: Click to Open the Amicus Brief

Asian American Coalition for Education

MEDIA CONTACT: Ms. Swann Lee, telephone: (617) 906-6380, email: swanleeca@gmail.com.

About the AACE: www.asianamericanforeducation.org

Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) is a non-political, nonprofit, grassroots national alliance with over 300 partnering organizations nationwide. AACE is the proven leader in fighting for Asian-American children’s equal educational rights. On May 15, 2015, the founders of AACE united 64 Asian-American organizations and jointly filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to request that they conduct investigations into Harvard University’s discriminatory admissions practices against Asian-American applicants. As the largest joint action taken by Asian-American communities over the last few decades, this action helped expose the anti-Asian discrimination to the national stage. Over the years, we have advanced the cause of equal education rights for the Asian-American community, including federal adoption of AACE policy recommendation on college admissions in July 2018, federal lawsuit against Yale University in 2020, our strong support to Students for Fair Admissions’ lawsuit against Harvard University and to Asian Americans fights for equal education rights in Maryland, New York, Washington, California, Massachusetts and other states.