ADL: Supreme Court’s Affirmation of Diversity in Education “Critically Important”

New York, NY, June 24, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the Supreme Court’s recognition of the central importance of diversity and equal opportunity in educational settings in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a challenge to the University of Texas’s inclusion of race as one factor in its holistic review of student applicants.

In a seven to one decision, the Court returned the case for further consideration by lower courts, holding that the University must demonstrate “before turning to racial classifications, that available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice” to achieve the educational benefits of diversity.

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We are pleased that the Supreme Court has affirmed that diversity in education is critically important.  A diverse student body exposes students to new ideas, challenges pre-conceived notions, and encourages students to examine issues from a multitude of perspectives.  Diverse learning environments also have benefits well beyond the classroom.

While diversity is critical, there is an important distinction between unconstitutional racial preferences and the legitimate consideration of race as one of many factors in a holistic review of applications.  Universities must be careful in creating and courts must be vigilant in reviewing admissions processes that consider race.

We will continue to track this case as it moves forward.  The University of Texas must and should be able to demonstrate that its review of students’ applications was appropriate.

ADL filed an amicus brief in the case, which was prepared by Howard W. Goldstein and Samuel P. Groner of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP.

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