Robin Vos, Affirmative Action

UNC Agrees To Pay Group Led By Anti-Affirmative Action Activist $4.8M

Students for Fair Admissions, run by a conservative anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum, struck another blow in its efforts to erase race-conscious admission programs at colleges and universities nationwide after the University of North Carolina (UNC) agreed to pay $4.8 million to cover the group’s fees and expenses.

According to Reuters, the figures are a response to its public records request. Courts can grant plaintiffs who reign in some civil rights cases fees for lawyers under federal law.

UNC agreed to pay Students for Fair Admissions $3.9 million to cover its fees and $900,000 for its expenses, according to the university’s records request response. BLACK ENTERPRISE has requested a comment from UNC but has yet to receive a response.

Blum’s group pursued recovery of legal fees after the U.S. Supreme Court last June ruled that consideration of race in admissions to colleges and universities violated the vow of equal protection  under the nation’s constitution. Lawsuits by Blum’s group led to the court ruling against UNC and Harvard University on those matters, according to Reuters.

Some observers are concerned that the Supreme Court’s ruling could fuel lower enrollment of Black and Hispanic students at U.S. colleges and universities as schools are trying to boost diversity. Many schools have supposedly centered on boosting student diversity numbers to help promote new views on campuses.

William Michael Cunningham, owner of Creative Investment Research, commented on the settlement in an email to BLACK ENTERPRISE.

“The financial burden of the settlement on UNC, and potentially other institutions, is alarming,” Cunningham, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, said. “It diverts precious resources away from educational programs and financial aid, directly impacting students. Moreover, the chilling effect of such legal battles may deter institutions from pursuing meaningful diversity initiatives for fear of litigation, further entrenching disparities.”

According to Reuters, Blum has indicated UNC and Harvard have each spent tens of millions of dollars to fight his lawsuits. Harvard reportedly has resolved the matter; financial agreement terms with the university were not made public.

The UNC settlement comes after the Fearless Fund told BLACK ENTERPRISE last August it plans to “vigorously fight” a  racial discrimination” lawsuit filed against the Atlanta-based VC fund for women of color by Blum’s organization.

Black leaders have  expressed strong objections to the Supreme Court’s decision abolishing affirmative action. Some observers even question now if the workplace will be Blum’s next target.

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