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HACU joins court cases in defense of diversity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) added its voice to written legal arguments to the United States Supreme Court filed in support of the University of Michigan in promoting diversity in college admissions policies.

“As the only nationally organized voice for Hispanic higher education, HACU well knows the role of diversity as one of the most important means to strengthen and enrich higher education for all students,” HACU President Antonio R. Flores said.

HACU joined the Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) briefs filed by the Hispanic National Bar Association, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and American Council on Education in two cases -- Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger – now before the Supreme Court. These cases challenge affirmative action policies that allow race and ethnic background to be a positive consideration in college entrance decisions.

The University of Michigan is one of HACU’s more than 340 member and partner colleges and universities, which collectively serve more than two-thirds of all Hispanic higher education students in the United States.

“This is not an issue that should be viewed along minority versus non-minority lines. All Americans benefit by the promise of equal opportunity to achieve higher education success in diverse learning communities; all Americans would suffer by denying the importance of diversity in the most culturally and racially diverse nation of the world,” HACU stated in the document included in the court filings.

HACU stated that a decision against college admissions policies in place since the landmark Supreme Court Regents of the University of California v. Bakke decision in 1978 would create an “immediate crisis” for Hispanics, who already suffer the lowest college entrance and completion rates among all major U.S. population groups.

HACU in January joined other leading national Hispanic organization in sending an Open Letter to President Bush urging his support for the University of Michigan.

“Ending affirmative action would shut the door to the American Dream for a vast number of our citizens,” said the Open Letter signed by Flores and leaders of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Council of La Raza, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Cuban American National Council, New American Alliance, National Association of Hispanic Publications, the University of Puerto Rico and MANA: a National Latina Organization.

Statement of Interest of the Amicus Curiae
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

Since its inception in 1986, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has championed the higher education success of the nation’s youngest and largest ethnic population

The formal mission of HACU, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization, is: to promote the development of member colleges and universities; improve access to and the quality of postsecondary educational opportunities for Hispanic students; and, to meet the needs of business, industry and government through the development and sharing of resources, information and expertise.

HACU’s 340 member and partner colleges and universities collectively serve more than two-thirds of all Hispanic higher education students in the United States. The reach of HACU and its member institutions also extends to pre-collegiate, workforce development and lifelong education initiatives. HACU member and partner institutions are located in 23 states, Puerto Rico, eight Latin American countries and in Spain.

HACU is the only nationally organized voice for Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or HSIs, which have a full-time student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic. HACU has an inherent interest in issues regarding the role and effectiveness of Hispanic students and their access to higher education, including post-graduate education.

HACU well knows the role of diversity as one of the most important means to strengthen and enrich higher education for all students in the United States. This is not an issue that should be viewed along minority versus non-minority lines. All Americans benefit by the promise of equal opportunity to achieve higher education success in diverse learning communities; all Americans would suffer by denying the importance of diversity in the most culturally and racially diverse nation of the world.

A decision against college admissions policies in place since the landmark Supreme Court Regents of the University of California v. Bakke decision in 1978 would create an immediate crisis for Hispanics, who already suffer the lowest college entrance and completion rates among all major U.S. population groups.

HACU joins the National Hispanic Bar Association in urging the United Supreme Court to support the University of Michigan in Grutter v. University of Michigan in promoting diversity in college admissions policies.

Additional Information

-- National Hispanic Bar Association (NHBA)
-- Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) &
    Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF)
-- University of Michigan

For more information, contact HACU national headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, at (210) 692-3805, ext. 3214. Or visit www.hacu.net. The complete texts of the court briefs described above are posted at the Government Relations page at www.hacu.net.