ACE Issue Brief Explores Implications of Supreme Court Race in Admissions Ruling
July 07, 2023

​In the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court’s race in admissions ruling, a panel of prominent experts offers reflections in a new ACE issue brief about the challenges and implications that individual colleges and universities and their students will face in the coming months.

Last week’s ruling in the combined cases brought by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has far-reaching implications for higher education, particularly for the efforts by colleges and universities to create diverse and inclusive campuses.

The issue brief, The SFFA v. Harvard and UNC Race in Admissions Cases: Reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling, features a number of questions posed by ACE Vice President and General Counsel Peter McDonough, such as seeking the opinion’s “headlines” and what a president’s leadership team should focus on this summer in response to the ruling, to these experts:

  • Jonathan R. Alger, president of James Madison University;
  • Art Coleman, managing partner and co-founder of EducationCounsel LLC;
  • Stephen S. Dunham, Pennsylvania State University’s vice president and general counsel emeritus;
  • Jessica L. Ellsworth, partner in Hogan Lovells’ Washington, DC office; and
  • Theodore M. Shaw, the Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Law and director of the UNC Center for Civil Rights.

The final question in the brief is to Ted Shaw, asking what he would say to a high school student who is part of an underrepresented minority and wondering whether this decision will make UNC, Harvard, and other colleges and universities less accessible, less welcoming, and less inclusive places.

“I believe that colleges and universities are not going to change their values and their commitment to inclusiveness,” Shaw said. “In the days, weeks, and months ahead, they will review this decision and their admissions processes to determine how they can continue to pursue fair admissions policies and practices.”

A student’s task, Shaw said, remains the same:

“Continue to be the best student, the best person, and the most well-rounded individual you can be. Be your best self. When you apply to college, tell your story—all of it—including who you are, your life experiences, and the obstacles you have overcome. Do your part. There are others who are working to ensure that opportunity and fairness will remain available to you. More than anything, do not despair. Be hopeful for yourself and for our country.”