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ABCs of Diversity

David Honig, Minority Media & Telecommunications Council president, tells B&C the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin could have been “much worse.”

In the decision, the high court said race could be used as a factor in college admissions, but that strict scrutiny would apply. To pass muster, affirmative action must meet the court test that it be necessary to a compelling government interest, and that there are no other alternatives to achieving the desired diversity.

MMTC joined with some former FCC members— chairmen Reed Hundt and Michael Copps and commissioners Andrew Barrett, Tyrone Brown, Nicholas Johnson and Gloria Tristani—to file a brief with the court in support of the lower court ruling. They argued that diversity in college “serves as a necessary predicate to the equally strong governmental interest in media diversity.”

The Supremes did not affirm the lower court, but they also did not rule that diversity could not be used as a factor in admissions, either.

“Consideration of race as a factor in college admissions, to promote diversity, has survived thanks to this narrow ruling,” Honig says.

MMTC has been urging the FCC to take some action on dozens of diversity initiatives that MMTC has proposed.