Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Importance of Supreme Court Continuing to Recognize the Legality and Value of Race-Conscious Admissions Policies
August 01, 2022

​“Today, ACE and 39 other higher education associations filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the justices to uphold the ability of colleges and universities to determine, within long-settled judicial parameters, the student body composition that will advance their individual institutional missions and benefit the educational experiences of all students.

The outcome of these cases will have a profound and direct impact on our nation’s colleges and universities, their students, and, ultimately, this country’s global competitiveness. The justices have in their hands the opportunity to, as the brief states, ‘underscore long-held fundamental principles that have enabled the American system of higher education to become the envy of the world.’

We are optimistic that when the justices hear oral arguments later this year they will do so bearing in mind the critical importance of enabling access and equity in the distribution of educational opportunities, not only at the most selective institutions but also across the broader spectrum of higher education.

We trust, as well, that the justices understand that these cases are about more than diversity and admissions. They also raise important questions about individual rights and institutional autonomy. It is critical that applicants continue to have the unbridled right to describe their authentic selves, including how race and ethnicity have influenced their lived experiences. Equally important, admissions officers must not be forbidden from considering a subset of applicants’ intangible characteristics that they believe will contribute to the educational experiences offered by their schools, and thereby compelled to ignore their own institutions’ unique missions. Colleges and universities must continue to be able to consider race and ethnicity as one factor in a holistic admissions process whose goal is assembling a talented, diverse incoming class.

Federal trial courts have upheld the admissions processes of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as did a federal appeals court in the Harvard case. Now, the Supreme Court can heed its most recent race-conscious admissions precedent set in 2016.  

There is a lot at stake in these cases for our institutions and for millions of future college students. We hope that the justices will honor more than four decades of precedent and once again affirm the importance of diversity in college admissions.”

Media Contact
Jon Riskind
Telephone:(202) 939-9453

Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard University and v. University of North Carolina

Read the amicus brief