UNC will no longer consider race, including in essays, during admissions

UNC will no longer use race as a factor in its admissions and hiring decisions, including in application essays

The University of North Carolina (UNC) will no longer use race as a factor in its admissions and hiring decisions, including in the applications essays, following the monumental decision by the Supreme Court to overturn affirmative action in college admissions. 

The UNC Board of Trustees approved the resolution that prohibits the university from using "race, sex, color or ethnicity" in admissions and hiring decisions last week. The move amends a previous resolution that operated under affirmative action, which the Supreme Court struck down in its landmark ruling in June against Harvard and UNC’s race-conscious undergraduate admissions policy, which it said violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

UNC "shall not unlawfully discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status in its admissions, hiring and contracting," according to the resolution. 

Students meander through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said the university will take all the necessary steps to fully comply with the new resolution and the Supreme Court ruling.  (Melissa Sue Gerrits)

In addition, UNC will not "'establish through application essays or other means' any regime of or encourage heuristics and/or proxies premised upon race-based preferences in hiring or admissions" and if the university "considers the personal experience of applicants for admission, each applicant ‘must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual – not on the basis of race.’"


UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said at the meeting where the vote took place that to the university would follow "all aspects of the law," stating he was confident they were "taking all the necessary steps to fully comply."

After the Supreme Court handed down its opinion, Harvard University hinted it would still consider race in its admissions process, stating it plans to use applicants’ essays detailing how race has affected their lives in an effort to "comply with the Court’s decision," according to a university statement. 

"The Court held that Harvard College’s admissions system does not comply with the principles of the equal protection clause embodied in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act," the statement read. "The Court also ruled that colleges and universities may consider in admissions decisions ‘an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.’ We will certainly comply with the Court’s decision."

Despite this change in the university's admissions process, Kenny Xu, president of Color Us United, still criticized the university for its use of diversity, equity and inclusion trainings in its medical school training.

North Carolina Rep. John Hardister recently sent a letter to UNC School of Medicine executive dean Christy Page inquiring about the school's use of diversity, equity and inclusion in their training. The day before the trustee meeting, Page responded to Hardister's letter emphasizing the importance of understanding racial differences in order to provide life-saving treatment. 

UNC-Chapel Hill campus

Cristy Page, the executive dean of the UNC School of Medicine, responded in a letter to North Carolina Representative John Hardister, stating the importance of DEI policies to ensure students and future doctors understand these racial differences to provide life-saving treatment.  (Lance King)

"Educating and preparing our medical students to provide the best, most compassionate medical care to North Carolinians from all walks of life is not just important to us and our mission, but it is vital to our accreditation as well," Page wrote in her letter, which was obtained by Fox News Digital. "The Liaison Committee on Medical Education’s (LCME) accreditation requirements for medical schools require a focus on understanding the impact of disparities in health care on all populations and learning approaches that eliminate health care disparities."


Under LCME’s charter, every medical school must have a diversity policy and engage "in ongoing, systematic, and focused recruitment and retention activities, to achieve mission-appropriate diversity outcomes" for students, faculty and staff. 

But, in a letter to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, LCME said "nothing" in the text "mandates which categories of diversity a medical school must use to satisfy this element," the Wall Street Journal reported. In addition, the standards do not "establish or define any quantitative outcomes" that a medical school needs to meet, stating each medical program "has the discretion to define for itself the diversity programs it chooses to prioritize."

Xu, who is also a board member of Students for Fair Admissions, which brought the lawsuit against Harvard and UNC, told Fox News Digital that UNC's new policy contradicts with the medical school's focus on DEI. 

"She's [Page is] trying to say we need to see a person's race because it helps us to give them better care, but that was not the question that Hardister was asking," Xu said. "Hardister was asking: ‘Why do you choose to use race, gender and sexual orientation in training, admissions and promotion.’ So, she kind of avoids the question while sort of staunchly defending the race-based treatment that is now at the center of UNC's conflict."

UNC recently changed a tip on its website for the common application essay and short answer prompts from "working to build a diverse and inclusive community" to "working to build a talented and inclusive community" at the university.  ((Photo by Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images))

In February, UNC voted to ban DEI statements and compelled speech from admission, hiring, promotion and tenure. Prior to this change, UNC's med school required applicants to provide a statement detailing their commitment to DEI.

The UNC medical school disbanded its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) task force on June 1 before it implemented any of its recommendations. The task force's report included recommendations that were partially based on the DEI protocols of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) that requires students to study topics like "Unconscious Bias Awareness," "Understanding and Responding to Microaggressions," and "Understanding that America's medical system is structurally racist."


Xu also said Hardister's inquiry shows "there is growing frustration in North Carolina with the use of public funds to support what is clearly racial discrimination and what is clearly lowering the standards in a state that needs excellent students and excellent doctors to succeed in their in the public and private sphere."

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