STATEMENT: Federal Court Ruling in Harvard Affirmative Action Case Is a Step Forward for Racial Equity in College Access


Center for American Progress (CAP)

Release Date

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard.  The court ruled that Harvard University’s use of race in admissions does not violate the Constitution or unfairly disadvantage Asian American students, preserving, for now, the use of affirmative action policies in college admissions. The court’s ruling is just one victory in what could be a long legal battle over the use of race in college admissions nationwide. In response, Danyelle Solomon, vice president of Race and Ethnicity Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

Today, a federal court affirmed precedent and, once again, validated the use of race as a factor in college admissions. Students of color have long faced systemic barriers in accessing institutions of higher learning. Affirmative action policies are one of a few tools that colleges and universities have to ensure that their student body is diverse. For years, organizations such as Students for Fair Admissions have attempted to undermine the use of race in admissions with the hopes of eliminating this practice once and for all. The court’s decision today should send a clear message that race-conscious admissions practices are constitutional and necessary to ensure racial equity in higher education.

Related resource: “5 Reasons to Support Affirmative Action in College Admissions” by Connor Maxwell and Sara Garcia

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