ANN ARBOR (WWJ/AP) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has challenged the University of Michigan to get more black students as she received an honorary degree from the school.

Asked Monday about what public universities will look like in the decades ahead, Sotomayor said they’re going to “look a lot like” the University of Michigan but more diverse — a remark that drew applause.

She says the number of black students at the Ann Arbor school is a “real problem.”

Sotomayor says the U.S. can’t “reach equality in a larger society” without equality in education. She made her comments to a packed house at Hill Auditorium during a forum with German Justice Susanne Baer to help commemorate U-M’s bicentennial.

The percentage of black undergraduate students at the University of Michigan has been pretty steady at less than 5 percent since 2012.

Sotomayor said the nation is making large improvements towards equality, but says we’re far from where we need to be. Along with the issue of diversity, spoke to students about community and the importance of higher education.

“Everyone needs to grow; the trauma of putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable,”  Sotomayor said. “Because when you’re comfortable you just don’t change. It’s too easy to go from day to day doing the same thing, and not really exploring your strengths and your limits.”

Sotomayor is the first Latino to serve on the Supreme Court, while Baer is the first openly gay woman to serve on Germany’s high court.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  1. Lou Nee says:

    maybe urban school districts should do a better job of preparing their students for the rigors of academic competition, and quit handing out high school diplomas like participation trophys

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