The following is a statement from Association of American Universities President Barbara R. Snyder about the Supreme Court’s decision to revoke the ability of colleges and universities to use race-conscious admissions to achieve diversity in their student bodies:
I am deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the Supreme Court to upend more than 40 years of precedent by banning colleges and universities from considering race among other factors in their admissions decisions to create diverse student bodies and fulfill their academic missions.
As I have said previously, a university education in which one’s fellow students all come from similar backgrounds is woefully incomplete and fundamentally flawed. In its previous decisions, the court recognized that colleges and universities have a compelling interest in using race-conscious admissions to cultivate student diversity, which promotes academic success and improves educational outcomes for all students. Today’s decision encroaches on the ability of colleges and universities to exercise their academic judgment in using a holistic admissions process that evaluates applicants using a broad spectrum of academic and nonacademic factors. Despite what the majority of the court implies in its decision, the record shows that these processes have never reduced an applicant solely to race or ethnicity.
Higher education institutions have a responsibility to provide the best possible learning environment for students and to prepare students for participation in an increasingly diverse workforce and interconnected society. Today’s decision does not alter that responsibility.
AAU institutions will comply with the law as we recognize that equity and excellence are inseparable. We will continue to fulfill our educational and research missions, which require us to acknowledge the importance of diversity throughout the academic enterprise -- and especially in student and faculty recruitment and retention. As a leading voice in higher education, AAU will continue its work to advance equity, promote inclusive environments, and speak out on the value of diversity on our campuses.
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