In response to the recent news that the departments of Justice and Education have retracted Obama-era Affirmative Action guidelines, our colleagues at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) as well as many other campus leaders have spoken out.
From College Reaction:
"Harvard University spokeswoman (Assistant Vice President of Communication) Melodie Jackson stated: 'Harvard will continue to vigorously defend its right, and that of all colleges and universities, to consider race as one factor among many in college admissions, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court for more than 40 years. Harvard is deeply committed to bringing together a diverse campus community where students from all walks of life have the opportunity to learn with and from each other.' She added: 'Harvard’s approach to race-conscious admissions has been upheld by the Supreme Court for more than 40 years, first in Justice Powell’s opinion in Bakke, again in Grutter, and most recently in Fisher II.'"
Kim Broekhuizen, Associate Director of Public Affairs [at the University of Michigan] stated: 'We believe the U.S. Supreme Court got it right in 2003 when it affirmed our law school's approach at the time, which allowed consideration of race as one of many factors in the admissions process. We still believe that. But under state law, after Proposition 2, the university is restricted from considering race in admissions decisions.'"
Brian Clark [of Brown University] tells us, 'We at Brown will do everything in our power to advocate against changes to laws or policies that would undermine our ability to build a diverse community of outstanding students. The courts have held that colleges and universities may act affirmatively to achieve the educational goals at the core of our academic excellence at Brown. Through our race-conscious admission practices, Brown assembles the diverse range of perspectives and experiences essential for a learning and research community that prepares students to thrive in a complex and changing world. We consider each application individually based on many factors. We remain dedicated to building a well-rounded class of students who can succeed as problem solvers and future leaders in an increasingly diverse society.'"
AAC&U today released an official statement echoing the sentiments above: "AAC&U Calls for Colleges and Universities to Fulfill the Promise of American Higher Education by Promoting Diversity and Equity":
"To meet the demands of equity and excellence in higher education, all students must be given the opportunity to address unscripted problems in the context of a diverse nation and globally interdependent, multicultural world. This goal cannot be achieved without the creation of diverse campus communities. Indeed, identifying and overcoming the institutional structures and hidden barriers that undermine diversity is an imperative, not only for delivering a twenty-first-century liberal education that prepares students to thrive in work, citizenship, and life, but for carrying out our nation’s historic mission of educating for democracy."