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West Point sued for alleged racist quotas, race-based admissions

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp)
September 20, 2023

The prestigious U.S. Military Academy, West Point, is being taken to court over allegations that it has improperly used race and ethnicity as determining factors in its admissions process.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in New York’s Southern District, is spearheaded by the same group, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), that was behind the landmark case that led the U.S. Supreme Court to nullify affirmative action in college admissions earlier this year.

“West Point openly states that ‘[t]he United States Military Academy is fully committed to affirmative action.'” The lawsuit states. “That ‘commitment’ plays out across all areas of the Academy’s admissions policy.”

The lawsuit by SFFA claims that West Point “sets benchmarks” for percentages of each class of students to be filled by Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians, claims that it “meticulously tracks its compliance with those figures” within a “tenth of a percentage point.”

“These racial benchmarks vary by year, based on the ever-shifting demographics of the enlisted ranks,” the lawsuit states. “In other words, the Academy openly attempts ‘to balance the Corps’ of cadets by setting ‘desired percentages … of blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities’ for each incoming class.”

According to the complaint, rather than evaluating potential cadets based on their abilities and leadership potential, West Point has allegedly focused primarily on race.

The lawsuit claims, “In fact, it openly publishes its racial composition’ goals,’ and its director of admissions brags that race is wholly determinative for hundreds if not thousands of applicants.”

West Point, in response, has not addressed the specific details of the case, stating only that it “does not comment on ongoing investigations to protect the integrity of its outcome for all parties involved,” according to The Associated Press.

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While the Supreme Court’s decision in June invalidated admissions plans at both Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the court’s ruling did not extend to West Point or any other military academies.

Edward Blum, president of SFFA, asserts that the principles underlying the high court’s decision should also be applicable to military higher education establishments.

“No level of deference justifies these polarizing and disliked racial classifications and preferences in admissions to West Point or any of our service academies,” he said.

The academy is responsible for producing roughly 17% of new Army officers that are commissioned each year, according to The Associated Press.

The institution has been actively making efforts to foster diversity, with outreach programs targeting major cities such as New York City, Atlanta and Detroit. Recent data shows that minority enrollment stood at around 38% for the newest class, which was comprised of over 1,240 cadets.

In addition to West Point, the lawsuit also implicates the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, as well as other officials.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.