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The Majority of Asian Americans Support Race-Conscious Admissions Policies

In anticipation of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE) and National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE) have released policy papers examining Asian American support for race-conscious policies. Both papers cite multiple surveys of Asian Americans that consistently demonstrate that a majority of Asian Americans oppose abolishing race-conscious admissions policies. Furthermore, both papers identify fatal flaws underlying claims in one recent amicus brief to the Supreme Court that relied upon a survey of Asian Americans and race-conscious policies that dramatically departed from accepted methodological standards and yielded results at odds with the weight of available evidence.

"We support the current law that race can be one of many factors colleges consider to attain campus diversity," said Margaret Fung, Executive Director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), which announced that it will be filing an amicus brief in Fisher, urging the Supreme Court to uphold UT-Austin's race-conscious policies. "We believe the Asian American community continues to support policies that promote equal educational opportunity."

The APAHE paper cites a Voter News Service/Los Angeles Times poll which found that a majority of Asian Americans demonstrated support for race-conscious admissions policies by rejecting Proposition 209 in California, a measure that prohibited public universities from considering race in admissions: "Polls by the Voter News Service/L.A. Times and the Field Institute reveal that among Asian American voters, support for Prop 209 was only in the range of 39% to 44%." AALDEF's exit polls also found that 75% of Asian American voters in Michigan rejected Michigan's Proposal 2, a similar state referendum seeking to ban race-conscious policies.

The CARE paper presents results of a multi-city survey of Asian Americans by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, where 63.1% of Asian Americans indicated that affirmative action "is a good thing" as opposed to 5.7% who reported that it is a "bad thing" and 18.6% who reported that it "doesn't affect Asian Americans."

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