UC released a brief on Monday backing a race-based admission policy used by the University of Texas at Austin. This is a file photo of the University of California, Irvine.
UC officials have submitted court documents to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the University of Texas' argument to keep its admission policy that considers race, saying it helps ensure student diversity on selective campuses.
UC President Mark Yudof and 10 campus chancellors filed the court documents as the Supreme Court is expected to weigh the University of Texas at Austin's undergraduate admission policy in October.
The case stems from an admissions issue with Abigail Noel Fisher, a white student, who said she was denied enrollment to Texas in 2008, despite academic credentials she said exceeded those of some minority students who were admitted into the university.
Yudof and the chancellors' brief runs counter to the 1996 voter-approved Proposition 209, which bars state government institutions from considering race, gender, sex or ethnicity as a factor in hiring and admissions.
Since the measure has been in place, UC officials argue in the court brief, they have seen a drop in minority enrollment at some UC campuses and have not regained the levels seen before Proposition 209 was enacted.
"The facts tell us the educational and societal benefits from a diverse student body cannot be realized fully at the nation's largest highly selective university system,” Yudof said in a statement supporting the University of Texas' admissions case.
"Telling that story is the appropriate thing to do in the context of this legal case."
Yudof and the chancellors said in their court brief that only a small fraction of students enrolling to get their master's in business administration are African American and Latino.
The UC brief comes as The Obama administration and California Attorney General Kamala Harris also submitted legal briefs supporting the University of Texas admissions policy.
"A diverse student body better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society," Harris wrote in her amicus brief.
After California banned affirmative action, voters in Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Washington state and Nebraska approved similar bans with similar results.