CIR to monitor Michigan's new admissions system

Day-to-day operation is key

Washington, D.C. — The Center for Individual Rights, which represented plaintiffs Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher in their successful effort to strike down the University of Michigan undergraduate admissions systems before the U.S. Supreme Court today announced that they will monitor the University’s new admissions system to make sure that it complies with new requirements imposed by the High Court’s June 23 rulings.

The Court ruled that if schools consider race at all, they do so as part of “a highly individualized holistic review of each applicant’s file.” Schools must look at all the ways an applicant might contribute to a diverse educational environment, not just race.

“It remains to be seen whether the new system is constitutional,” said CIR President Terence Pell, who today acknowledged receipt of the new system from the University. “We’ll review the proposal of course, but we’ll be even more interested to see how the school implements the new policy. We’ll want to see how big a role race actually plays in the day-to-day decisions made by admissions officials.”

The Center successfully challenged several admissions systems in use for more than a decade at the University of Michigan. The Court ruled that the University’s various grid systems and index point systems granted illegal racial preferences to all members of favored racial groups.

Pell added that “if, under any new system, race ends up trumping most other admissions factors, then the new system will be just as illegal as the systems the Court struck down.”

Pell noted that the Court’s recent rulings make clear that schools have to look for ways to terminate race conscious admissions systems as soon as practicable. “We’ll want to see if the University is making a good faith effort to examine the many race-neutral admissions systems now in use in hundreds of schools in five states that have done away with race preferences.”

“The ‘substantial changes’ the University has announced today show how far thinking has advanced since we filed suit in 1997,” Pell said. “Back then, no one thought race preferences were a problem. Now the highest Court in the land has said schools must end the consideration of race as soon as practicable. I look forward to the day when the UM will judge each applicant without regard to his or her race.”