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STATEMENT: Neera Tanden on the Supreme Court’s Diversity in Higher Education Ruling

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Contact: Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285

Washington, D.C. — Today Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden issued the following statement reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the diversity in higher education case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin:

With today’s decision, the Supreme Court again affirmed the crucial role that diversity plays in our strength as a nation—at least for now. All students benefit from a diverse learning environment where they can each learn from the experiences of their classmates. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote 10 years ago, “classroom discussion is livelier, more spirited, and simply more enlightening and interesting” when students have “the greatest possible variety of backgrounds.”

While the decision requires the university to jump through additional hoops to demonstrate that their methods for creating diversity are appropriate, it does reaffirm diversity as a compelling interest. This acknowledgement is necessary to ensuring that college students, regardless of race, can continue to get access to a rich and enlightening educational experience.

Let there be no doubt that there are some on the Court who would undo this principle given the chance. We’re reminded today that in a country where we have great diversity, the leadership of our institutions still lags far behind, and that diversity in education is a vital avenue in the drive toward the promise of full equality.

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