August 4, 2022
The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) is proud to join the amicus brief of the American Council on Education (ACE) along with 38 other higher education associations urging the Supreme Court to reaffirm the legality and value of race-conscious admissions policies, and the autonomy of higher education to exercise “careful, holistic review” of students.
Ignoring race and its impact on one’s identity undermines the reality of students' lived experiences. Including race as one of many factors (academic and non-academic) for careful consideration allows institutions to pursue their educational mission within permissible limits as recognized by the Court in prior cases (Grutter, 2003, Fisher, 2016). Further, the issues of individual rights and institutional autonomy addressed in the brief are significant and extend well beyond the two institutions whose admissions practices are under scrutiny.
Colleges and universities, based on prior precedent, are afforded substantial deference to define their educational missions and to select a student body that furthers that mission. Defining merit narrowly and restricting careful consideration of a student’s racial identity and how it has shaped the student’s experiences and perspectives as part of holistic admissions practices is an unwarranted restriction on the substantial deference previously upheld by the Court.
Colleges and universities, utilizing careful holistic review policies and practices, should be free to build communities that are diverse and represent the full scope of student experiences. NADOHE urges the justices to be guided by precedent and not place unwarranted restrictions on institutions to offer opportunity to all.
The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) is the preeminent voice for chief diversity officers. As the leader of the national conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion, it investigates, influences, and innovates to transform higher education so that inclusive excellence lives at its core.