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Columbia Law School denies allegations it tried to circumvent SCOTUS affirmative action ban, retracts requirement for applicant video submissions
Proponents of affirmative action hold signs during a protest at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 1, 2023 (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Columbia Law School denies allegations it tried to circumvent SCOTUS affirmative action ban, retracts requirement for applicant video submissions

Columbia Law School recently denied allegations that it tried to circumvent the Supreme Court's affirmative action ban by requiring applicants to submit video statements, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

According to the law school's admissions page on Monday morning, "all applicants" were to submit a video statement up to 90 seconds long answering a "question chosen at random."

The statement would supposedly "allow applicants to provide the Admissions Committee with additional insight into their personal strengths and academic or other achievements," according to screenshots of the website shared by the Washington Free Beacon.

Critics torched Columbia for requiring the video statement following the Supreme Court's ruling banning affirmative action in admissions and accused the school of attempting to circumvent that decision.

As of Monday evening, the law school has removed the requirement from its website.

A spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon that the video statement requirement was posted in error on its website.

"Video statements will not be required as part of the Fall 2024 J.D. application when it becomes available in September," the spokesperson stated. "It was inadvertently listed on the Law School's website and has since been corrected."

Columbia claimed the requirement was added in May as a pilot program for transfer applicants but noted that the program has since ended. However, archived pages reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon revealed that the video requirement for "all" students was added to the website in late June after the Supreme Court's decision.

One Columbia Law School student told the outlet, "The timing is so suspect, I have to wonder, are they that dumb?"

"They're not even trying to hide it," the student added.

Executive director of the American Civil Rights Project Dan Morenoff told the outlet, "There's no reason the school would need a video, so the requirement of such a submission is powerful evidence of an intent to discriminate."

"It's hard to imagine a clearer pretextual work-around for the Supreme Court's decision," he noted.

Following the Supreme Court's ruling, several universities have been accused of adding essay prompts centered around identity, and critics are concerned that these types of questions will be used to continue race-based admission practices.

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