Affirmative Action Challenge and Supreme Court Guidance

Supreme Court Cases: Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard and UNC

America’s higher education institutions have long recognized and cultivated the educational benefits of diversity. AACRAO believes holistic admissions practices are instrumental in helping institutions to identify students who are likely to thrive in their educational programs.

We will continue our efforts in support of equitable access to education. Our meetings, workshops, and digital platforms will continue to have space for institutions to work towards confronting implicit bias and addressing systemic inequities. We will provide support to institutions as they reframe their admissions plans in light of this legislation, while ensuring that the successes of minoritized students are not set back. And we will work to ensure that data-informed processes are built to develop and improve student support and programming. 

Read our statement on the rulings to learn more. 


The Supreme Court Speaks: Understanding the Implications of Race-Conscious Admission Decision

3:00-4:30 PM ET | JULY 19, 2023

AACRAO, NACAC, NASFAA have joined together to present a webinar on the SFFA v Harvard and UNC cases. This webinar will provide attendees with a streamlined, practical analysis of two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases challenging race-conscious admission policies: Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard and SFFA v. UNC.

Register Now

Looking Back, Planning Ahead

On February 2, 2023, AACRAO hosted a webinar that examines the pending U.S. Supreme cases where the central question is whether colleges and universities can continue to consider an applicant’s race and ethnicity as part of the holistic review process in admissions.

View Recording

AACRAO Process Examination Guidelines

AACRAO encourages members to begin to examine any admissions or recruitment practices that target populations of a specific race as well as their overall holistic/equity admissions practices.

To assist in this process, AACRAO is providing this guidance document to prepare our members for a possible major change in their ability to consider an applicant’s race and ethnicity as part of a holistic/equity review in admissions. 



Harvard Admissions Case Appealed to Supreme Court

Mar 4, 2021, 10:14 AM
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Summary : The anti-affirmative action group challenging Harvard's admissions process asks the court to overturn a key precedent that allows schools to consider race when choosing an entering class.
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Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an anti-affirmative action group, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a key precedent that allows schools to consider race when choosing an entering class, The Washington Post reported.

The petition is part of SFFA's long-running challenge against Harvard University's admissions process. 

In November, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday affirmed a lower court decision that Harvard does not discriminate against Asian American applicants. SFFA originally filed suit against the institution in 2014, alleging that the university gives unfair preferences to black and Hispanic students in admissions decisions and intentionally discriminates against their white and Asian American peers.

The group's new petition asks the Supreme Court to overturn its 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger ruling that allows race-conscious admissions in higher education in the interest of achieving student body diversity, reported the Post. SFFA's challenge against Harvard is widely believed to become the Supreme Court's next opening to ban affirmative action.

While the Supreme Court has allowed colleges to narrowly use race in admissions for decades, SFFA could have favorable odds given the conservative majority on the high court.

"After six and one-half years of litigation, the hundreds of Asian-American students who were unfairly and illegally rejected from Harvard because of their race may soon have this lawsuit reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court," SFFA President Edward Blum said in a statement. "It is our hope that the justices will accept this case and finally end the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions."

However, Harvard continues to argue that creating a diverse campus community is essential to its mission, the Post reported.

"As earlier court decisions have confirmed, our admissions policies are consistent with Supreme Court precedent," the university said in a statement. "We will continue to vigorously defend the right of Harvard College, and every other college and university in the nation, to seek the educational benefits that come from bringing together a diverse group of students."

Meanwhile, SFFA also announced a new lawsuit against Yale University, alleging it intentionally discriminates against Asian American students in admissions, Inside Higher Ed reported. The U.S. Department of Justice in February dropped its Trump-era case against institution and SFFA had vowed to pick it up. Yale will continue to staunchly defend its admission practices.

Related Links

The Washington Post 

Inside Higher Ed

Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Admissions and Recruitment
  • Advocacy
  • Affirmative Action Challenge
  • Diversity and Inclusion
Tags :
  • Affirmative Action
  • Affirmative Action Challenge
  • Discrimination
  • Federal relations
  • in the courts
  • Race
  • race-conscious
  • supreme court
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