CAPAC Statement Supporting Affirmative Action During Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Oct 31, 2022 Issues: Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will begin to hear oral arguments in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, two cases that challenge the Court’s long-standing support for affirmative action in higher education. CAPAC fully supports affirmative action policies that consider race as one factor in a holistic admissions process. These race-conscious policies are critical to promoting campus diversity and closing educational gaps that are due, in part, to the prevalence of systemic racism in our society.

Affirmative action refers to certain education, contracting, and employment policies that aim to increase the representation of racial and ethnic groups that have been historically underrepresented. Additionally, despite the pervasive model minority myth that paints Asian Americans as universally highly-educated, disaggregated data show that many students from communities of color and low-income backgrounds face barriers from seeking educational opportunities, including many Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) groups. For example, 20% of Hmong, 27% of Laotians, and 25% of Cambodians do not complete high school, and only 19% of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have attained a bachelor’s degree. CAPAC leaders released the following statements supporting affirmative action:

CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27):

“As a former educator, I believe all students should have access to quality education. All students benefit when educational institutions reflect the diversity of our country. While we will always oppose illegal efforts to impose racial quotas or discriminate against specific racial or ethnic groups in the higher education admissions process, CAPAC fully supports race-conscious admissions policies that allow universities to consider race as one of many factors in the admissions process. A majority of Americans, including a majority of Asian Americans, support affirmative action. The Supreme Court must uphold its constitutionality and continue its support for race-conscious admissions to work toward increasing diverse student populations while increasing equitable educational outcomes. CAPAC is committed to transparency, diversity, and opportunity for all in the higher education admissions process.”

CAPAC Second Vice-Chair and Education Task Force Chair Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41):

Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admission v. University of North Carolina are a part of a conservative effort to undermine racial justice and diversity within our education system and our society. As an Asian American graduate of the University of California, Riverside and Harvard University, I firmly believe that I benefitted directly from affirmative action. I’m proud of the opportunities these policies create for students of color, countering the burdens of past and ongoing racial discrimination. Colleges and universities admissions policies must be able take into account a wide range of criteria that includes an applicant’s race and ethnicity.”

House Education and Labor Committee Chair Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03):

“Narrowly tailored admissions policies that recognize race as one criterion—out of many criteria for evaluating prospective students—are a key tool to realize diverse learning environments and address continued educational inequity. Moreover, research has confirmed that diverse campuses not only support underserved students, but also provide all students with a quality, well-rounded education. As it has for decades, the Supreme Court must continue to recognize that pursuing racially diverse campuses is both constitutional and in the compelling interest of our nation. These admissions policies are critical for achieving the promise of equal educational opportunity that remains unfulfilled more than 65 years after the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education.”