US medical schools are allowed to consider race in admissions
The US Supreme Court has ruled that US universities have the right to use race as an admission factor, but have limited the application of this right.
In the trial involving the University of Michigan (Student BMJ 2003;11:226), the court decided that taking race into consideration to achieve student diversity does not contravene the equal protection clause in the US constitution.
Although the ruling supports the use of affirmative action in university admissions, which helps members of minority groups to enter higher education, the court rejected a more structured admission policy that grants extra points to minorities. This, they argued, would practically ensure the acceptance of minority groups and would disregard overall individual merit, thereby violating the constitutional clause.
However, interpretations of this ruling have varied greatly, with some critics describing the decision as bewildering and double headed, perpetuating the conflicts around affirmative action.
Mary Sue Coleman, president of the