Brandeis reacts to Supreme Court ruling supporting diversityReleased on June 25, 2003
Contact: Contact: Donna Desrochers 781-736-4204
Decision says race may be one among many factors schools can consider for admissionThe Supreme Court has ruled that colleges and universities may consider race as one of many factors in making admissions decisions. This ruling is applauded by Brandeis University, one of 38 private higher education institutions that filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the Court in the landmark case involving the University of Michigan.
The Court handed down a split ruling in two cases involving Michigan. It found the university's undergraduate policy of automatically assigning extra admission points to minority applicants unconstitutional, but ruled in favor of the law school's use of race as one of many factors in its admissions policy.
"Brandeis was proud to stand with the University of Michigan, its fellow amici, and other colleges and universities in its support of diversity in admissions," said President Jehuda Reinharz. "The Court's opinions confirm that colleges and universities should be allowed to pursue admissions practices which carefully consider all of an applicant's attributes, including race," he said.
The amici institutions argued against "fixed numerical quotas or rigid guidelines" but believed, as noted in the Brandeis statement of interest below, that factors considered for admission, in addition to specific quantifiable measures, should include the breadth and rigor of a student's high school program; extra-curricular and co-curricular interests and activities; special talents; evidence of leadership; geography, including country of origin in the case of international students; gender and race, among others.
To view the complete text of the two Supreme Court rulings, click on the links below.
Statement of Interest:
Brandeis University was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community as a private, coeducational and nonsectarian institution of higher learning and research. While Brandeis maintains a special relationship with the Jewish community, it is not affiliated with any religious organization and offers no theological instruction. From the first, the University has welcomed students and faculty of all backgrounds and beliefs in fulfillment of a mission that emphasizes academic excellence, the creation and transmission of new knowledge, open and vigorous intellectual inquiry, a commitment to social justice and diversity broadly defined. Brandeis strives to reflect the heterogeneity of the United States and of the world community in which its graduates will spend the remainder of their lives.
Named for one of America's most distinguished jurists, Brandeis University is passionate about the importance of a broad and critical liberal arts education in enriching the lives of students and preparing them for the fullest possible participation in a changing society. In identifying students for admission, the University seeks to build a select community of men and women who, in its judgment, can best contribute to and benefit from the educational environment and opportunities Brandeis offers. Factors considered for admission, in addition to specific quantifiable measures, include the breadth and rigor of a student's high school program; extra-curricular and co-curricular interests and activities; special talents; evidence of leadership; geography, including country of origin in the case of international students; gender and race, among others.
Diversity in the student body as well as the faculty is judged inseparable from the University's commitment to academic excellence and the creation of a campus community in which vigorous intellectual debate and the free exchange of ideas are paramount values. The quality of academic debate and the exchange of ideas and alternative points of view are directly influenced by the various perspectives and worldviews of the participants. Race, gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, religion and a variety of life experiences provide a lens through which individuals view ideas, the world and their place in it. To deprive institutions of higher education of the ability to consider students for admission, not on the basis of fixed numerical quotas or rigid guidelines, but on the basis of subjective judgments involving the many factors and personal characteristics that directly contribute to the academic experience, including such factors as race and gender, would lessen the ability of America's institutions of higher education, both public and private, to provide the rich educational environment that is the envy of the world.
The Supreme Court
submitted by Donna Desrochers