University of California v. Bakke

  • 1970s affirmative action program at UC Davis Medical School set a specific racial quota, setting aside 16% of its admits for minority applicants
  • Rejected white applicant Allan Bakke sued, alleging that the quota violated his right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment
  • Supreme Court ruled in Bakke's favor, banning fixed racial quotas, but did allow schools to consider race as one factor among many in admissions decisions

While the federal government and federal courts were urging private employers and state agencies to take "affirmative action" to increase minority hiring, America's colleges took the same approach to diversify their student bodies. A decade after Brown, African-American enrollment in colleges had changed little. In 1955, only 4.9% of all college students, ages 18 to 24, were black. The number grew to 6.5% in the five years following the decision, but had returned to 4.9% by 1965.

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