In June, the nation's highest court ruled in Students for Fair Admissions' favor in its case against Harvard. A prospective student "must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race," the justices decided.
But East Carolina University and its Brody School of Medicine had not gotten word that admitting students based on race was illegal – not until a group called Color Us United brought it to the school's attention.
Spokesman Mike Markham says diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies were deeply ingrained at the school.
"They want faculty to consider DEI in their voting. DEI would be considered in faculty evaluations to possibly keep a job or get promoted," Markham relays. "[For students who] happen to be minorities, they shouldn't really weigh test scores."
After receiving Color Us United's letter, the school almost immediately began unwinding its DEI policies and moving toward merit-based admissions and grading.
"The end result, assuming they're abiding by these things, should be renewed academic freedoms, a better environment on campus, and students being prepared to do the things that they came to the university to do," Markham says.
He believes race-blind admissions and testing policies should be the norm at all schools. For one thing, it is the law. And Markham says is extra important when it comes to medical schools.
"You're not talking about just ideas, ideology, opinion; you're talking about what you do and the way you do it directly having a result on people's health and people's physical wellbeing," he points out.
Color Us United was created to speak out against those who want to divide America. In January of 2023, the organization launched a campaign to persuade healthcare leaders to drop DEI programs – which result in lower-quality care, more division, and fewer patient rights – and reform the system with the M.E.D.S. (Merit, Equality of Opportunity, Diversity of Thought, Straight Talk) framework.