LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The color of your skin cannot be a factor when choosing whether you will be admitted into college in the state of Michigan. That was a ruling made Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court, as justices upheld a ban on affirmative action in that state.
Affirmative action is legal in the state of Wisconsin. UW-La Crosse uses affirmative action when admitting a student. However, staff said race does not play a factor in deciding if a student is accepted to the university or denied.
UW-L sophomore Kalon Bell says he's one of the few minorities on campus and he feels that can be challenging at times.
"You might be the only person of color in your class, you might not feel comfortable with certain areas. Of course it depends on the person; not everyone's the same. But I'd say in a lot of ways it can be difficult for students of color here," Bell said.
Director of Admissions Corey Sjoquist said the color of your skin doesn't matter on an admission application.
"The primary consideration will always be the academic preparation that that student has," Sjoquist said.
Sjoquist said secondary factors include a student's involvement, leadership or letters of recommendation. All factors are used by the admissions department to create a diverse campus.
"Not only creating an environment composed of students that represent a variety of different values and diversities, but also providing speakers and lectures and programs and curriculum that allows a diverse experience so that student can then go on and be prepared for their professional career," Sjoquist said.
UW-L's affirmative action director said employers look for students who come from a diverse college background.
"Among the things they look for are students with the critical and creative problem-solving skills, teamwork skills, cross cultural and intercultural competency, those are all things that are more and more important in the work place today," Nizam Arain, director of affirmative action at UW-L, said.
Arain said he isn't discouraged by the decision to uphold the ban on affirmative action in Michigan.
Michigan is the sixth state in the nation to have this ban.
The website collegeportraits.com said that about 90 percent of the students on the UW-La Crosse campus are white.