California Colleges Do Not Consider Race in Admissions

Katelyn Timple, News Editor

   Since the United States Supreme Court outlawed college admission race demographic quotas in 1978, eight states, including California, have banned racial preference in the college admissions processes.

  According to a website encyclopedia of American politics and elections, “Affirmative action in university admissions are steps universities take to increase the enrollment of minorities and women to improve their opportunities and outcomes” (

   The website also states, “Affirmative action admissions programs were undertaken by public and private universities alike, beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s. Some universities initially established quotas in order to achieve a demographically diverse student body; these quotas were outlawed by the United States Supreme Court in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke in 1978” ( 

   Today, affirmative action is seen in the common form of racial preferences. “A preference occurs when a group of applicants is more likely to be admitted than other applicants with similar or better qualifications due to other factors, such as race or ethnicity,” according to Ballotpedia. “The use of racial preferences may be related to college selectivity: scholars such as law professor Richard Sander have found that preferences are strongest at elite institutions” (

   “The rationale for universities for employing affirmative action at all is the idea that the campus community should reflect the broader state or region and in an academic environment, a broader basis of life experiences and perspectives yields better interactions, debates, and conversations than a more homogenous one,” said History Teacher Jonathan Schiller.

   Some states however have bans on consideration of race in admissions. These eight states include Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Washington, and California, according to Iowa Capital Dispatch (

   “The State [of California] shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting,” according to Best Colleges (

   Not everyone is in favor of the ban however. “Affirmative action supporters, however, say the ban stymies the pursuit of equity in higher education. California may be the most diverse state, but racial enrollment disparities persist at the University of California and California State University systems,” according to the website (

   According to Iowa Capital Dispatch, “In states with a ban, researchers have found that enrollment of under-represented minorities, especially Black and Latino students, decreased at selective institutions, graduate, and professional schools” (

   According to Iowa Capital Dispatch, “A 2020 study from researchers at the University of Washington and Brookings Institution found ‘persistent declines in the share of under-represented minorities’ at flagship universities in the states with an affirmative action ban” (

   According to the Iowa Capital Dispatch website, Lawyer Sarah Singer, a staff attorney in the racial justice program at the American Civil Liberties Union, said, “I think [the ban] could pose a very real threat to the ability of schools to pursue diversity as well as in the way they shape and think about the academic environment that is created on higher education campuses” (

   “The Supreme Court last ruled in an affirmative action case in 2016, recent history in the timeline of case law. Taking up a related case so soon indicates the court may be intending to revisit the precedent on the constitutionality of race in college admissions,” according to Iowa Capital Dispatch (