Affirmative Action Challenge

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard and UNC

America’s higher education institutions have long recognized and cultivated the educational benefits of diversity. Current holistic admissions practices adhere to a legal framework that has grounded diversity efforts for decades. AACRAO believes these practices are instrumental in helping institutions to identify students who are likely to thrive in their educational programs.

There is a long history of case law that supports the use of holistic assessment’s focus on diversity and confirms that colleges and universities have a compelling interest in ensuring student body diversity. As student demographics undergo rapid change, more colleges and universities are looking beyond traditional measures to admit future students. To remove the consideration of non-academic factors is unfair to applicants for whom this is a critical part of their life and would deprive applicants of full and due consideration of their lived experiences.

Up-to-date Guidance

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. 


Webinar: 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


Lawmakers File Brief in Support of Students for Fair Admissions

May 12, 2022, 13:33 PM
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Summary : Dozens of conservative lawmakers submitted an amicus brief in favor of SFFA's lawsuit challenging the race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill.
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A group of 82 conservative lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a group looking to ban the use of race in the college admissions process, Politico reported.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases brought by SFFA against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, alleging that both institutions discriminated against Asian American applicants in their admissions processes. The outcome of the consolidated cases, which the court will likely take up in the term that begins in October, could have broad ramifications for how colleges and universities consider race in admissions decisions. More specifically, SFFA's lawsuit asks the court to overturn the landmark 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger ruling, which allows race-conscious admissions in higher education in the interest of achieving student body diversity.

"Race-conscious admissions decisions inflict a heavy toll on Asian-American students," the lawmakers wrote in their brief. "Treating them differently because of their race is a stark departure from equal protection decisions issued early on by this Court, which guarded Asian immigrants from racial prejudice. And the burdens imposed on petitioner illustrate a wider trend. Asian-Americans are increasingly victimized by discriminatory practices."

Related Link

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