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Title VI: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (NC) OCR Complaint No. 11-07-2016

On November 27, 2012, OCR closed a complaint against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alleging that the University’s undergraduate admissions process discriminates against White and Asian American applicants, in violation of Title VI. Under Title VI, strict scrutiny review is applied to the use of an individual’s race in admissions in federally assisted programs. Under the strict scrutiny standard of review, the recipient must have a compelling interest for using race and its use of race must be narrowly tailored to that interest. OCR stated that the University has a compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits of diversity, as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice in the Guidance on the Voluntary Use of Race to Achieve Diversity in Postsecondary Education. OCR also found that the admissions process met the second requirement of strict scrutiny: narrow tailoring. In light of the Complainant’s specific concern regarding the differences among average SAT scores of applicants by race, OCR stated as part of its narrow tailoring analysis that SAT scores are not a decisive admissions factor in the University’s holistic process, and the gaps in and of themselves do not establish that race is the predominant factor or even a predominant factor. Under Title VI, a recipient has academic discretion to decide on admissions criteria, including how test scores will be used.  

Read the Resolution Letter download files PDF (344K)

Last Modified: 01/15/2020