Preparing for the Supreme Court’s Race in Admissions Ruling
April 21, 2023

​As higher education institutions and their students wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to release its decision on the two race in admissions cases the justices heard Oct. 31, ACE is sharing a transcript of the session held at ACE2023 earlier this month that was aimed at helping campus leaders prepare for the outcome of the cases.

The cases stem from a challenge by the activist group Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) of the admissions processes of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The ruling is expected by late June, and college and university leaders must be ready to address the outcome of these cases and their impact.

It’s premature to anticipate just how a majority of justices will rule, despite a number of predictions that four decades of precedent, as recently as the 2016 Fisher II case, will be shunted aside. An amicus brief submitted last year to the high court by ACE and 38 other higher education associations stressed that the justices should be cognizant of the rights the First Amendment grants to applicants to colleges and universities, and the freedoms it accords to those institutions—and honor decades of precedent and recognize the continuing value of colleges and universities using limited consideration of race and ethnicity as part of an individualized, holistic admissions review. Click here for more information about the Harvard and UNC cases.

But sensible contingency planning requires taking inventory of potentially implicated institutional policies and practices (not only regarding selective admissions, but also in other areas such as scholarships and student programs), being prepared to assess their continuing viability post-decision, and anticipating engagement with faculty, staff, students, and alumni with strongly held views. Institutional leaders should be positioned to effectively lead in multiple areas, including policy development strategies, community engagement approaches, and core messages of support for institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments.

The experts on the panel used their wide range of experience to offer insights and practical guidance as institutional leaders prepare for one of the most consequential U.S. Supreme Court decisions on admissions in decades. Click here to read the transcript of the session.

Students for Fair Admissions Challenges Policies at Harvard and UNC

Background and Resources

Contingency Planning and Prep for a Post–Supreme Court Decision Landscape

Read the transcript