Most Americans think college admissions shouldn’t be considered a Race-Reuters/Ipsos poll

Most Americans think college admissions shouldn’t be considered a Race-Reuters/Ipsos poll

By Gabriela Borter

(Reuters) – Sixty-two percent of Americans say race and ethnicity should not be considered in college admissions, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll on the policy at the center of a high-profile case before the U.S. Supreme Court this spring.

The poll, which surveyed 4,408 adults from Feb. 6-13, found that 73% of Republicans and 46% of Democrats said they were against race-conscious admissions, or affirmative action, a practice used by colleges and universities. Enhancing ethnic diversity within their student body.

Sixty-seven percent of white respondents said they were against considering race at all in admissions, compared to 52 percent of minority respondents.

The conservative-leaning US Supreme Court will rule this spring questioning the legality of race-conscious admissions practices at Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC).

Most Supreme Court justices last year indicated sympathy for the arguments made against affirmative action. The court’s decisions could disrupt the practices, which are used to enroll black and Hispanic students at US colleges.

The group behind the lawsuit, Students for Fair Admissions, says UNC discriminates against white and Asian American applicants and Harvard discriminates against Asian American applicants. Schools disagree.

The cases gave the court a chance to reverse precedents — one as recent as 2016 — that allowed schools to use race as a factor in admissions if other factors were also considered.

Harvard and UNC have said race is only one of many factors in their admissions process, and barring its consideration would cause a significant drop in enrollment of students from underrepresented groups.

Affirmative action advocates say that considering race in college admissions is a necessary step to remedying racial disparities in American life and ensuring diverse perspectives on campuses. Critics say it unfairly favors some minority applicants over other groups.

The president of Students for Fair Admissions declined to comment on the results of the vote. Representatives for UNC’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Coalition for a Diversity Harvard did not return requests for comment.

In a Reuters/Ipsos poll, 46% of respondents said social policies such as affirmative action unfairly discriminate against whites. This opinion was held by 49% of white respondents and 39% of minority respondents.

Although most survey respondents said they did not think college admissions offices should consider race at all, 58% of all respondents said they supported programs aimed at increasing the racial diversity of students on college campuses. The poll question did not provide specific examples of such programs.

Respondents were also asked how significantly other factors played a role in college admissions. 68 percent said grades should be a major consideration. 56 percent said candidates whose relatives attended the school should not be considered separately; Similarly, 37% said athletic ability should be ignored.

The poll’s credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, was about two percentage points for all respondents.

(Reporting by Gabriela Borter; Editing by Colin Jenkins and Bradley Perrett)

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