Race-Based Admissions and the Supreme Court: An Asian American Perspective

Gordon H. Chang

About the Webinar

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in two high-profile cases on race-conscious college and university admissions policies. This is the third time in the last two decades that the nation’s highest court has heard cases that challenge long-standing attempts to increase diversity on college campuses. The Court’s finding that these policies are unconstitutional will have significant implications on the Asian American community, including how Asian American students should prepare for the college application process.

On Thursday, October 12, from 2:00pm – 3:00pm Eastern Time, Committee of 100 convened a discussion with experts from academia, law, and the media. Amy Qin, National Correspondent for The New York Times, will be the moderator. Panelists include Gordon H. Chang, the Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities at Stanford University; John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC); and Sally Chen, Education Equity Policy Manager at Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA).

This panel discussed various aspects of the historical context surrounding affirmative action, why affirmative action is relevant to the Asian American community, and what the specific case law means for Asian Americans today.


Amy Qin
National Correspondent, The New York Times

Amy Qin is a national correspondent for The New York Times, covering Asian American communities. She joined The Times in 2012 and previously worked as a correspondent based in Beijing and Taipei. She is based in Washington.

As a China correspondent, she looked closely at how Chinese citizens thrived, coped and struggled in a landscape of deepening political control. In 2019, she was part of the team that chronicled the Chinese government’s crackdown on Uyghurs, a series that was a Pulitzer finalist for international reporting. In early 2020, during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, she was one of the few foreign correspondents on the ground in Wuhan after the city was locked down. Several months later she was part of a group of journalists from The Times and other news outlets that was expelled from China.

Fluent in Mandarin, Ms. Qin is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Oxford University. She has taught international reporting as a visiting professor at U.C. Berkeley. She grew up in Northern California and spent childhood summers at her family’s ancestral homes in two of China’s spiciest provinces, Shaanxi and Sichuan.


Gordon H. Chang
Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities, Stanford University

Gordon H. Chang is professor of history at Stanford University and the Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities. He recently stepped down as the Senior Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. In that position, he helped lead the University through the trials of the pandemic. He has been on the Stanford faculty since 1991. He is also a member of Committee of 100.

In 2019, he published Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic History of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and, as co-editor, The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental (Stanford University Press). These books draw from more than seven years of work conducted by the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford which he has co-directed. His other books include Friends and Enemies: The United States, China, and the Soviet Union, 1948-1972; Morning Glory, Evening Shadow: Yamato Ichihashi and his Internment Writings, 1942-1945; and Fateful Ties: A History of America’s Preoccupation with China. He edited or co-edited Asian Americans and Politics; Chinese American Voices, with Judy Yung and Him Mark Lai; and Asian American Art: A History.

He is a fourth generation Californian, having grown up in Oakland. His degrees are from Princeton University and Stanford.

*The views and opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Stanford, Committee of 100, or any other organizations I may be affiliated.

Sally Chen
Education Equity Policy Manager, Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA)

Sally Chen (she/her) is the Education Equity Program Manager at Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) in San Francisco, where she advocates for universal, high quality, tuition free, and racially diverse K-16 education for all students. As part of her work, she also supports education equity initiatives with the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition. Before her current position, she managed a vocational ESL program for Chinese immigrants and advocated for affirmative action policies in local hiring.

As a first-generation college graduate from a working-class immigrant family, she is a proud alumna of Harvard College, where she organized for racial justice issues on campus including race-conscious admissions policies. She was one of eight students and alumni that gave oral testimony in support of affirmative action in the 2018 federal lawsuit Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard.

John C. Yang
President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)

John C. Yang is the President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), where he leads the organization’s efforts to fight for civil rights and empower Asian Americans to create a more just America for all through public policy advocacy, education, and litigation. 

Mr. Yang served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor for Trade and Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he was the principal advisor to Secretary Penny Pritzker on issues related to Asia and worked with the White House and other U.S. agencies on strategic and economic issues concerning the region. Previously, Mr. Yang was a partner with a major Washington, D.C. law firm, and also worked in Shanghai, China as the legal director for the Asia-Pacific operations of a U.S. Fortune 200 company. Mr. Yang was the 2003-04 President of NAPABA. 

Mr. Yang’s other leadership positions have included: Member, National Advisory Committee for Race, Ethnicity & Other Populations, U.S. Census Bureau (2017-2019); Co-Chair, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (2019-present); Member, American Bar Association House of Delegates (2008-18; Minority Caucus Chair, 2014–16); General Counsel, D.C. Bar (2000-02); Advisory Committee on Pro Se Litigation for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (1998–2002). In 1998, Mr. Yang co-founded the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the direct service legal needs of Asian Pacific Americans in the D.C. metropolitan area. 

He received his law degree from George Washington University Law School. 


Thursday, October 12, 2023 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern Time



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