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U. Louisville will still use race in admissions, president says

University of Louisville’s President Kim Schatzel recently told faculty “we’re going to drive a truck through experience with race in terms of our admissions.”

The comments referred to campus leaders’ apparent plans to use what some consider a loophole in the Supreme Court’s recent decision to outlaw affirmative action in college admissions.

Speaking to the Faculty Senate on Oct. 4, Schatzel said campus leaders will use a caveat that was carved out in part by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson during the court hearing on Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by The College Fix.

“There has been some questions with regard to how the Supreme Court decision is affecting admissions both here as well as nationally,” Schatzel said, adding faculty should look at Jackson’s line of questioning.

“One of the questions that she asked during the Supreme Court hearings with regard to this was, ‘How is it that someone can apply to a university and get in on the basis of the fact that for five generations their family members have been admitted?’”

“So they could get in based on that legacy of five generations coming in,” she said, “but someone who has been kept out of a university for five generations because of their legacy is not considered.”

Schatzel said that question “spurred the exception in terms of the decision of the fact that admissions could be based on experience with race … so we’re going to drive a truck through experience with race in terms of our admissions.”

“We remain committed in terms of our admissions policy, and I just wanted to assure everybody about it, kind of where the strategy is around it,” she said.

The College Fix contacted the public university’s media relations and the president’s office about Louisville’s intentions for its admissions policies.

“We have not finalized our policies and have nothing to share at this time,” said John Karman, the university’s spokesman.

Several college admissions consultants have argued that race is still considerable despite the Supreme Court ruling.

As The College Fix previously reported in the wake of the ruling, Anna Ivey, a former dean of admissions at the University of Chicago Law School and founder of Ivey Consulting, explained to her clients that admissions offices may still ponder an applicant’s race.

Ivey argued on her website that Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion permits racial considerations if they are intertwined to an applicant’s character formation.

Ivey pointed out how Justice Roberts’ decision stated universities may consider an “applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.”

But Mike Zhao, president of the Asian American Coalition for Education, told The College Fix “only factors related to the applicant as an individual, not members of a racial group, can be considered during the college admissions.”

When asked specifically about Schatzel’s statement, Zhao called it “a blatant violation of the Supreme Court’s recent rulings.”

He said “an applicant can write about the racial discrimination he or she endured in his or her essay, but it needs to be related to his or her grit, his character, not just being a specific racial group.”

When asked what universities should do to reform admissions policies after the ruling, Zhao said they must refocus back to the original purpose of higher education.

“Select the best and brightest, and prepare them with the best knowledge and skill sets to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” he said.

MORE: College admissions consultants argue race still considerable despite Supreme Court ruling

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Therese Joffre -- Hope College