Several UCR employees have played a part in two “friend of the court” briefs filed in August with the United States Supreme Court in support of the University of Texas in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The case challenges the use of race in undergraduate admissions decisions.

One brief was filed by Mark Yudof, the president of the University of California system, and the system’s 10 chancellors.

In filing the brief, UC seeks to inform the court about its efforts to enroll a student body that encompasses the broad diversity of California while for the past 15 years operating under a constitutional prohibition against race-conscious admissions. As the brief details, this concerted systemwide effort at the University of California has been less than completely successful.

Three other UCR employees have ties to the other brief. Bill Kidder, assistant executive vice chancellor, was a member of the committee that developed the brief. Kidder says, “In my own research, I found that at the University of Texas, Austin, my campus and other peer universities with robust levels of diversity, African American and Latino students feel more respected on campus. By contrast, at several University of California campuses like Berkeley and UCLA that lack “critical mass,” significantly fewer African American and Latino students completing the same survey report feeling respected.” Kidder says the brief, which was filed by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, highlights the “direct relationship” between student body diversity and a healthy campus racial climate.”

Karthick Ramakrishnan, an associate professor of political science, and Robert Ream, an associate professor of education, signed the brief.

Scholars from 172 universities and research centers in 42 states joined in the brief, which summarizes key research on affirmative action for the U.S. Supreme Court. Oral arguments were held Oct. 10.