R27 - U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Department of...

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U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Division Office for Civil Rights GUIDANCE ON THE VOLUNTARY USE OF RACE TO ACHIEVE DIVERSITY IN POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION Introduction The United States Department of Education (ED) and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) (collectively, the Departments) are issuing this guidance to explain how, consistent with existing law, postsecondary institutions can voluntarily consider race to further the compelling interest of achieving diversity. This guidance replaces the August 28, 2008 letter issued by ED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) entitled “The Use of Race in Postsecondary Student Admissions.” Ensuring that our nation’s students are provided with learning environments comprised of students of diverse backgrounds is not just a lofty ideal. As the Supreme Court has recognized, the benefits of participating in diverse learning environments flow to an individual, his or her classmates, and the community as a whole. These benefits greatly contribute to the educational, economic, and civic life of this nation. Learning environments comprised of students from diverse backgrounds provide an enhanced educational experience for individual students. 1 Interacting with students who have different perspectives and life experiences can raise the level of academic and social discourse both inside and outside the classroom; indeed, such interaction is an education in itself. By choosing to create this kind of rich academic environment, educational institutions help students sharpen their critical thinking and analytical skills. These skills not only enhance academic progress, but also prepare students to succeed in the professional world. The skills students need for success in “today’s increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints.” 2 Moreover, postsecondary institutions play a unique role in opening doors for “all segments of American society, including people of all races and ethnicities.” 3 As a result, “attaining a diverse student body is at the heart of [a university’s] proper institutional mission.” 4 For all these reasons, the Departments recognize the compelling interest that postsecondary institutions have in obtaining the benefits that flow from achieving a diverse student body. 5 This 1 Grutter v. Bollinger , 539 U.S. 306, 330 (2003). 2 Id . 3 Id . at 331-32. 4 Id. at 329. 5 The Departments also recognize the compelling interest in remedying the vestiges of past racial discrimination, which is not the focus of this guidance. Some postsecondary institutions are required to consider race pursuant to
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guidance addresses the degree of flexibility that postsecondary institutions have to take proactive steps, in a manner consistent with principles articulated in Supreme Court opinions, to meet this compelling interest. As the Supreme Court has made clear, such steps can include taking
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R27 - U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Department of...

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