HAVERFORD AMONG COLLEGES TO SUBMIT FRIEND OF THE COURT BRIEF
IN MICHIGAN CASE
A group of 28 highly selective colleges
submitted a brief to the United States Supreme Court in support
of the University of Michigan, involving two cases which challenge
the university's race-conscious admission policies to its law
school and its undergraduate College of Literature, Science
and the Arts.
In the "amici curiae,"
or "friends of the Court"
brief filed on Friday, February 14, the 28 private colleges,
all claiming a "compelling interest in enrolling highly
diverse – including racially diverse – classes,"
argue, among other points, that the Court "should consider
the realities of admitting applicants, to serve the college
mission, in a society in which race still matters in determining
a person's available opportunities and life experience…"
Citing examples of the educational
benefits for individual students and society at large, as a
result of affirmative action, the brief argues that the alternatives
suggested by the Justice Department and petitioners to achieve
diversity would not work at smaller highly selective colleges.
"Admitting a percentage of each high school class, or focusing
on class or economic circumstance without looking at racial
background could not work at small, highly selective schools,
if the objective is to enroll a class that is both academically
excellent and diverse."
Besides Haverford College, the other
supporting respondents are Amherst, Bates, Bowdoin, Bryn Mawr,
Carleton, Colby, Colgate, Connecticut, Davidson, Franklin and
Marshall, Hamilton, Hampshire, Macalester, Middlebury, Mount
Holyoke, Oberlin, Pomona, Sarah Lawrence, Smith, Swarthmore,
Trinity, Vassar, Washington and Lee, Wellesley, and Williams,
as well as Wesleyan and Tufts Universities.
“Affirmative action is
part of America's commitment to equality,” notes Haverford
President, Thomas R. Tritton. “ The arguments on this
subject may be complex, ambiguous and even divisive, but to
lose the ability to practice affirmative action in college admissions
would be a step backwards for our society and nation.”