Uppsala law school quotas quashed

January 28, 2005

A Swedish court has ruled that a quota-based admissions policy at Uppsala University is unlawful.

For two years, Uppsala University has reserved 10 per cent of places on its law programme for students from ethnic minorities to increase diversity in a traditionally elite programme.

Josefin Midander and Cecilia Lönn, both of whom have Swedish parents, successfully sued the university after their applications were turned down and places offered to children of immigrants with lower grades.

The court awarded the two students damages of 75,000 SEK (£5,800) each, ruling that ethnic diversity could not be the grounds for admission to university.

The law department must now reconsider its quota-based admission process.

But Hans Eklud, head of department, believes it remains important to recruit students from all sections of Swedish society.

"We're working with upper-secondary schools (to encourage ethnic applicants)," he told the newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning , "but the quota system is more effective. It's important to have student diversity."

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