Race-Conscious Admissions

This resources page was created in response to requests from ADEA members looking for information and guidance on efforts of public and private postsecondary institutions that consider race in enrollment practices. Although each dental school must set its own mission-based definition of diversity, the resources provided below can facilitate constructive school-based dialogues that can lead to lawful race-conscious admissions program.  The number of resources may grow over time, based on the expressed needs of ADEA members. In addition, the resources will be updated as events warrant.  Unless otherwise noted, the information and resources intend "race-conscious" to be a term that is inclusive of the consideration of race, ethnicity, and national origin because the three share the same federal legal protections.

Information & Resources

July 2016 by Michele S. Moses, Christina Paguyo, & Daryl Maeda, from The Conversation, HigherEdJobs 
After Fisher: Affirmative Action and Asian-American Students

In a landmark judgment on June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of race-conscious affirmative action in university admissions. Supporters of race-conscious admissions programs are understandably gratified. But has the case resolved the larger moral and political disagreements over affirmative action? 

June 2016 by Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, California State University, Sacramento  
Fisher II got it right on Race and Affirmative Action
As a nation, we are fortunate that the Supreme Court ruled that the University of Texas admission plan “clearly reconciled the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity.” In Fisher v. University of Texas, the court considered the case of Abigail Fisher, who claims she didn’t get in to UT because the school preferred non-white candidates.

June 2016 by Andy Thomason, The Chronicle of Higher Education
3 Key Takeaways From the Supreme Court’s Decision on Race-Conscious Admissions
To many observers, the Supreme Court’s 4-to-3 decision on Thursday that upheld the use of race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas at Austin came as a surprise.

March 2016 by Lorelle Espinosa, Hollie Chessman and Lindsay Wayt, American Council on Education
Racial Climate on Campus: A Survey of College Presidents
Black Lives Matter. In addition to crystalizing a movement, these three words encapsulate well the current state of race relations in the United States.

July 2015 by Lorelle L. Espinosa, American Council on Education; Matthew N. Gaertner, Pearson; and Gary Orfield, The Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles
Race, Class, and College Access: Achieving Diversity in a Shifting Legal Landscape  
ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy, in partnership with the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and the Center for College & Career Success in Pearson’s Research and Innovation Network—and with support from the National Association for College Admission Counseling, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, the College Board and EducationCounsel—released a groundbreaking report examining how legal challenges to race-conscious admissions are influencing contemporary admissions practices at selective colleges and universities around the country. The report is especially timely in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to take a second look at the constitutionality of the University of Texas’ admissions policy by granting review in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.

November 18, 2014
The Playbook: A Guide to Assist Institutions of Higher Education in Evaluating Race- and Ethnicity-Neutral Policies in Support of the Mission-Related Diversity Goals
The Playbook, produced by the College Board Access & Diversity Collaborative, is a guide to assist institutions of higher education in evaluating race- and ethnicity-neutral policies in support of mission-related diversity goals. It is the product of several years’ research and collaboration with enrollment experts and higher education leaders. With a research-based analysis and focus on real-world examples, The Playbook catalogs many of the race-neutral strategies (“plays”) that have been adopted in various higher education settings. These strategies include both “individual” plays—student characteristics, experiences and skills that contribute to diversity—and "institutional" plays—institutional strategies and actions that can enhance student diversity.

July 2014
Appeals Court Backs Use of Race in U. of Texas Admissions  
A federal appeals court upheld the University of Texas at Austin's consideration of race in admissions. The ruling came in a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that public colleges could consider race in admissions, but only under strict conditions. Critics of affirmative action have hoped that those conditions were sufficiently narrow that when the appeals court took another look at UT Austin's admissions policies, they would not meet those tests.

June 24, 2014
The Future of Affirmative Action: New Paths to Higher Education Diversity after Fisher v. University of Texas
This volume is an outgrowth of a Lumina and Century foundations conference titled “New Paths to Higher Education Diversity.” The authors tackle the questions: What is the future of affirmative action given the requirements of the Fisher court? What can be learned from the experiences of states that created race-neutral strategies in response to voter initiatives and other actions banning consideration of race at public universities? What does research suggest are the most promising new strategies to promoting diversity in a manner that the courts will support? How do public policies need to change in order to tap into the talents of all students in a new legal and political environment?

June 17, 2014
If Affirmative Action Is Doomed, What’s Next?

This article reviews two books, “Place, Not Race” and “The Future of Affirmative Action,” that present versions of affirmative action that would combine racial and economic diversity. These books offer insight into obstacles, such as income, that minority children face that may be race-neutral.  The books, according to the article’s author, answer the concern that economic-based affirmative action is an inadequate substitute for race-based affirmative action. The article concludes by urging proponents of affirmative action to make race secondary and class primary.

May 6, 2014
Place, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America
The author, a law professor and civil rights activist, argues that affirmative action as currently practiced does little to help disadvantaged people. In this e-book, she reimagines affirmative action and champions place-based policies, arguing that college applicants who have thrived despite exposure to neighborhood or school poverty are deserving of special consideration. The author shows how the social costs of racial preferences outweigh any of the marginal benefits when effective race-neutral alternatives are available.

April 2014
Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, 572 U.S. ___ (2014)   
Holding: An amendment to Michigan’s constitution that prohibits state universities from considering race as part of its admissions process does not violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

Judgment: Reversed, 6-2, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy on April 22, 2014. The Chief Justice and Justice Alito join the opinion in full. Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in the judgement, in which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Breyer also filed an opinion concurring in the judgement. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg joined. (Kagan, J., recused)

July 2013 
Understanding Fisher v. the University of Texas: Policy Implications of What the U.S. Supreme Court Did (and Didn't) Say About Diversity and the Use of Race and Ethnicity in College Admissions   
This guidance was developed to provide institutions of higher education and higher education leaders with an analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court's Fisherdecision. It provides brief background on the case, analyzes the decision itself, and frames key takeaways and policy implications for institutions of higher education. The Appendix provides a chart that compares Fisher and Grutter/Gratz on foundational principles.

December 2, 2011  
Guidance on the Voluntary Use of Race to Achieve Diversity In Postsecondary Education

The United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice explain how postsecondary institutions can voluntarily consider race to achieve diversity. The guidance describes the relevant legal framework for considering; sets forth considerations for postsecondary institutions in their voluntary use of race to achieve diversity; summarizes key steps for institutions seeking to achieve diversity; and provides examples of ways that, in light of this guidance, postsecondary institutions may choose to advance this compelling interest.