The following is a statement by funders and philanthropic organizations in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. A full list of signatories follows.
The Supreme Court’s decision impedes colleges and universities from selecting their own student bodies and fully addressing systemic racial inequalities that persist. The ruling threatens to return this nation to a time when education and opportunity were reserved for a privileged class. It endangers sixty years of multiracial movements to challenge our nation to live up to the ideals enshrined in our founding documents. The decision erects new barriers to building a society in which everyone has the opportunity to improve their lives, communities, health, and education.
Today’s ruling will make the vital work of building inclusive college campuses much harder. Experience has shown that substituting socioeconomic status as a proxy for race will not achieve the diversity that strengthens the fabric of all universities. Educators and communities dedicated to teaching and mentoring young people and adults from every imaginable background understand how all students—not just students of color—benefit from diverse racial and socioeconomic learning environments. Decades of research show that students educated with people from different backgrounds and experiences improve their analytical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. These skills are essential to building our future workforce, our military, and a healthy democracy. In the realm of health, research shows that racially and ethnically representative medical schools produce better-trained physicians and care teams that reflect the communities they serve.
Universities and colleges and those organizations supporting them deserve the resources and support to continue their critical mission. They need our resolve, too. Philanthropies are vital partners in our nation’s progress. We will remain steadfast in our collective mission to create a more equitable nation within the bounds of the law. To forge ahead, we must continue to advocate for the human dignity of all people—regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or country of origin—with renewed vigor and commitment.
Our nation’s future prosperity, vitality, and unity depend upon America becoming a true multiracial democracy—an aspiration that requires racial equity and diversity in higher education. Despite today’s ruling, our foundations will not waver in our commitment to those making the nation’s high ideals a reality for all communities and all people.