Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

 Email  Share  Print

ACE Calls on Senate to Ask Kavanaugh About Race-conscious Admissions Policies

September 04, 2018

Senate Judiciary Committee began consideration of Trump SCOTUS nominee today

​As the Senate Judiciary Committee began its consideration of Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, ACE President Ted Mitchell called on the committee to query the nominee about his views on race-conscious admissions policies at the nation’s colleges and universities. 

In a letter​​​​​​ to Committee Chair Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the committee’s ranking member, Mitchell emphasized 40 years of judicial deference to higher education institutions’ ability to define for themselves, within broad limits, the diversity that will produce the educational benefits they seek for all their students, and to use their admission processes to further that goal.

“There are many important benefits that flow to students placed in diverse settings, from better learning outcomes to greater cross-racial understanding that helps to break down stereotypes,” Mitchell wrote. “All of this ultimately helps produce students well-equipped to navigate a nation more diverse, and a world more interconnected, than ever before. In turn, it helps our nation compete and succeed on the global stage.”

The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy leaves the Supreme Court without what has been a key swing vote on diversity in admissions policies. These policies now have been in effect for four decades: This summer marked the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s first decision in this arena, Bakke v. University of California

The Trump administration this summer rescinded a number of Obama-era guidance documents that outlined how colleges and universities can consider race as a factor in diversifying their campuses, a move Mitchell said at the time sent “precisely the wrong message to institutions that are committed to following four decades of Supreme Court precedent.”

The “Dear Colleague” letter reversed seven Obama administration policy guidelines pertaining to elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education, which the Trump administration believes “advocate policy preferences and positions beyond the requirements of the Constitution.” That decision returned the government’s official stance to the race-neutral policies of the George W. Bush era, issued in 2008.  

However, the guidance does not carry the legal weight of court rulings or legislation approved by Congress and enacted into law.

For updates on the hearing, see The New York Timeslive briefing page​

Other ACE News

  • September 19, 2018

    Today's Headlines

    HEADLINES: Today's Top Higher Education News

    Starting next fall, the University of Pennsylvania will offer what it says is the first online bachelor’s degree at an Ivy League college . . . Inside Higher Ed writes about the Alamo Colleges District in Texas, which has seen successes with its...

  • ACE Annual Meeting

    September 19, 2018

    ACE2019 Image

    Register Now for ACE2019

    Registration is open for ACE2019, ACE’s 101st Annual Meeting, March 9-12, 2019, in Philadelphia, PA.Nearly 2,000 college and university leaders from deans to presidents will gather at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown for the nation’s most...

  • Student Mobility

    September 18, 2018

    Fees for Student and Exchange Visitor Program Set to Increase

    The proposal to increase programs fees for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program may have a negative impact on international students, scholars, and higher education institutions, according to ACE and 14 other higher education associations.

  • Innovative Practices

    September 17, 2018

    Innovative Leadership

    College Presidents Finding New Ways to Lead Amid Growing Challenges

    A newly released ACE report highlights how innovative college and university presidents are rising to a variety of daily challenges and empowering their own campuses to take risks and respond strategically.

  • Budget and Appropriations

    September 17, 2018

    Stairs leading up

    Spending Package for FY 2019 Includes Boosts for Pell Grants, NIH, Career and Technical Education

    Congress has reached an agreement on an appropriations package for FY 2019 that includes a $100 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award and a $2 billion boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health, among other priorities for higher...


 Related Content