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Kentucky Native and Supreme Court Testifier Has Concerns Over Affirmative Action Ruling

Andrew Brennen was one of the UNC-Chapel Hill students who testified on behalf of the university during the Supreme Court case.
Gage Abell
Courtesy of Andrew Brennen
Andrew Brennen was one of the UNC-Chapel Hill students who testified on behalf of the university during the Supreme Court case.

A Kentucky man who testified in front of the nation’s high court on Affirmative Action is concerned about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that struck down programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard.

The decision disallows the consideration of race during the college admissions process. The conservative-majority court ruled both programs violate the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Andrew Brennen is a Kentucky native and a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate who testified on the case as a defendant intervenor. He’s also the son of David Brennen, the University of Kentucky College of Law’s first Black dean. He told WEKU’s Eastern Standard that without race-conscious admissions, on-campus diversity will decrease.

“In a pluralistic, multiracial democracy like ours, it is imperative that our democratic government, businesses, corporate institutions reflect the diversity of this country,” Brennen said.

He’s also worried that the ruling would force schools to ignore a large part of college applicants’ personal backgrounds and perspectives.

“I think it's important for a few different reasons, not only because it's important that UNC itself become more diverse, but also because race is something that's pretty inextricably linked to various elements of my life, the way I interact with the world, and with people, the relationships that I have,” Brennen said.

The UNC case was decided six votes to three, while the Harvard case was decided six votes to two. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was recused in the Harvard case and was not able to vote.

Listen for more with Andrew Brennen on Eastern Standard July 20.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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