Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 1978

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 1978

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  • University of California, Davis: Medical School special admissions process for minority students
  • This seems like a good way to improve minority student opportunities.
  • EMAIL: . . . . Dear student,  You have been admitted to the Medical School of the University of California, Davis through the special admissions process. . . . .
  • My aptitude test scores were extremely high. They have rejected me twice already! I'm suing them!
  • 1960s organizations created programs to improve opportunities for minorities and disadvantaged such as universities/colleges who set aside places for them.
  • UC Davis special admissions program violates federal and state constitutions, Title VI and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, Alan Bakke will not be granted admission to the school.
  • 1973: The Medical School of UC Davis admitted 16 minority students through their special admissions program despite their substantially lower science gpa's and lower Medical College Aptitude test scores.
  • Under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, Alan Bakke is to be granted admission to the Medical School of the University of California, Davis.
  • Alan Bakke (white applicant) had a GPA below regular admission applicants but had substantially higher aptitude test scores. However, his applications (1973 & 1974) were rejected and he sued the Regents and the university's governing board.  
  • A special admissions program can be constitutionally valid, as long as race is not the only criterion for admission. Other factors must be included to create competition for the available places.
  • The Supreme Court has decided that the special admissions program violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.
  • The California Superior Court determined that school's special admissions program violated the federal and state constitutuions but Alan Bakke would not be admitted to the school. Bakke then decided to appeal that decision to the California Supreme Court.
  • The California Supreme Court decided Bakke was admitted to the medical school because of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.
  • However, the Regents took their case to the Supreme Court where they argued that a properly devised program would be constitutionally valid  and that the clause could not mean one thing for one person and another for a person of color. Ultimately, the Supreme Court decided the university's program violated the clause and only a program that included other factors, not just race as a criterion for admission, would be constitutionally valid.
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