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Amherst College and others pay close attention as Supreme Court considers race in college admissions

The Supreme Court.
J. Scott Applewhite
The Supreme Court.

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments on Monday about whether using race as a factor in college admissions is constitutional.

That's after lawsuits were filed against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.

Amherst College joined 32 other liberal arts colleges in an amicus brief in support of the defendants.

Matt McGann, who is Amherst's dean of admission and financial aid, said the college seeks to bring together students from varied backgrounds and educate them in the liberal arts.

"A big part of that is the way that we assemble that community through a whole person admission process that considers among many factors, race and ethnicity and quite a few other things," said McGann, who was in Washington to hear the arguments at the Supreme Court.

Other western Massachusetts schools that signed on to the brief include Smith College in Northampton, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley and Williams College in Williamstown.

A decision is expected from the court in late June.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.