Supreme Court Upholds Affirmative Action
During that time, Michigans staunch position on policies promoting diversity elicited a groundswell of support from a vast range of leaders and organizations inside academia and beyond, including General Motors, Microsoft, Steelcase, and other U.S. corporations, labor and religious leaders, and distinguished military leaders and institutions.
In Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court ruled in a five-to-four vote to uphold a program at the University of Michigans law school that considers race as one factor in admissions decisions. Bollinger called the ruling a great victory for American higher education, and for the nation as a whole and viewed it as a reaffirmation by the court of the importance and the educational benefits of a diverse student body.
In the other case, Gratz v. Bollinger, the court struck down a point system used by the University of Michigan to give minority status, among many factors, weight in undergraduate admissions. Bollinger noted, however, in a Washington Post op-ed article, that in its decision, the court affirmed the central principle set forth in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke in 1978that race may be considered by colleges and universities as a factor in making admissions decisions.
By rejecting an absolutist argumentby affirming the notion that race may be considered in an appropriate manner in the admissions processthe court has helped ensure that public and private colleges and universities in the United States will remain accessible to all Americans of all backgrounds, Bollinger wrote. And it has helped ensure that American higher education will continue to educate our youth for the increasingly diverse world they will inherit.
The decisions will not affect Columbias admission policies, which reflect the Universitys long-standing commitment to maintaining a diverse student body.
Photo: Ben Casselman/Courtesy Columbia Spectator