Higher-Education Groups Welcome High-Court Ruling
By Pamela M. Prah, Staff Writer
Organizations representing state colleges and universities applauded the June 23 U.S. Supreme Court action upholding the use of affirmative action in college admissions.
In two rulings, the court not only upheld racial and ethnic diversity as a compelling state interest, but also reaffirmed the importance of giving colleges and universities leeway in the admissions process.
"These decisions enable our institutions to maintain their strong commitment to be welcoming places to students of all races and walks of life and to continue to pursue a wide range of legally permissible means of attaining a diverse student body," the top leaders of 29 higher education organizations said in a statement released June 23.
The 29 groups include the American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Association of American Universities, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the American Council on Education.
In two separate rulings, the court upheld the University of Michigan's law school's use of race in college admissions, but struck down the university's point system for the undergraduate program.
"Now comes the hard work of scrutinizing and implementing the details of these important decisions," the higher education groups said.
The action "represents the court's most significant statement on the legality of affirmative action in 25 years," the Education Commission on the States, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization involving key leaders from all levels of the education system said in its statement.
The ECS, which was not among the 29 higher education groups that issued the statement, has compiled links to the court decision, oral arguments and a variety of other resources on affirmative action.