WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) praised today’s pro-diversity ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in support of admissions policies in place at the University of Michigan Law School in Grutter v. Bollinger.
“Today’s landmark ruling by the nation’s highest court reaffirms diversity as a compelling public interest. It is also one of the most important means to strengthen and enrich higher education and, indeed, every sector of our multicultural society,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores.
Flores applauds Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s wise and balanced opinion, “The Equal Protection Clause does not prohibit the law school’s narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.”
However, on a second, related Supreme Court case, Gratz v. Bollinger, Flores said: “Although the ruling against the University of Michigan’s undergraduate admissions policy struck down the process and means of implementing the intent of the university, the court still upheld the important principle that student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions.”
“This is not a victory of minority over non-minority interests in this country. All Americans will benefit from the promise of equal opportunity to achieve higher education success in the most culturally and racially diverse country in the world,” Flores said. “The American Dream truly is possible for all Americans. The upholding of diversity policies in higher education is overwhelmingly supported by leaders in all sectors of society, including the U.S. military, the private sector, and professional associations to continue to tap talented leaders from our diverse society,” Flores added.
Flores is hopeful that the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action policies can be used as a national model and applied to all levels of higher education to achieve diversity on campus.
As the only nationally organized voice for Hispanic higher education, HACU joined hundreds of organizations and individuals in Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) legal briefs filed in support of the University of Michigan, a HACU member university.
In response to the first affirmative action challenge in a generation, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the university’s law school admissions policies that allow race and ethnic background to be one of many factors used in making student admissions decisions.
“There is a long tradition in this country of promoting fairness and equity as the truest reflection of our great democracy. Today’s decision reaffirms that tradition,” Flores said. “We congratulate our colleagues at the University of Michigan for their historic victory in holding fast to the principles of diversity and equal opportunity for all. They are heroes for all Americans.”
HACU represents more than 300 colleges and universities collectively serving more than two-thirds of all Hispanic higher education students.
For more information, contact HACU’s
national headquarters in San Antonio at (210) 692-3805. Ext. 3214.