What Comes Next? Understanding the Implications of Race-Conscious Admission Decision

July 10, 2023
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • President and Executive Director Updates
  • diversity equity and inclusion
Photograph of the U.S. Supreme Court

On June 29, the Supreme Court struck down the race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, arguing that they violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In response to this disappointing decision, AACRAO Executive Director, Melanie Gottlieb issued a statement underscoring AACRAO’s commitment to broad and equal access to higher education for all learners. 

The ruling has significant impacts on institutional practices, but it does not alter the fundamental principles and missions that drive institutions to create opportunity for underserved populations and build diverse classrooms that prepare our country’s learners to engage successfully in a global economy. AACRAO continues to support admission and enrollment management professionals’ ability to fully consider all factors regarding applicants’ accomplishments, aspirations, and promise.

To support our members in successfully leading their institutions to meet the challenges of a continually evolving environment, AACRAO 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. AACRAO’s holistic methodology has been recognized by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights as a best practice. For more information on implementing holistic admissions, take AACRAO’s on-demand course or reach out to AACRAO Consulting for an external review.

Planning Your Response 

On July 19 at 3:00 pm ET, AACRAO, NACAC, and NASFAA will join together to present a webinar on the details and repercussions of these two cases. This webinar will provide attendees with clarity on the implications for institutional enrollment policy and practice — including recommended strategies and action steps to consider. Complementing the legal analysis, this webinar will feature enrollment professionals who will share their reactions to the decisions and ideas regarding ways to continue to advance their institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Attendees will also have the opportunity to engage with panelists, posing questions and reflections. Register Here.  


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