Iowa’s Grinnell College is among several dozen liberal arts schools which weighed in on a U.S. Supreme Court case involving affirmative action. The case centers on the University of Texas, and the court could rule to ban consideration of race in college admissions.

Grinnell College president, Reynard Kington, said the school is one of 36 liberal arts colleges to file a brief in the case. “In which we stated in great detail why we believe that its essential that we continue to have the ability to take race and ethnicity into consideration when we admit students to our colleges,” Kington said.

The schools argue that a diverse student body is critical to a liberal arts education and rigorous institutions like Grinnell face special challenges in attracting minorities. “A large percentage of African American and Latino students in this country are stuck in educational systems that prepare them very poorly to enter a rigorous school like Grinnell so we’re already at a disadvantage,” Kington said.

President Kington says ignoring race and focusing on economic status will not solve the problem since, he says, the majority of the poor in America are white. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on Wednesday.