Statement from U-M President Mark Schlissel

Decades of research have conclusively demonstrated the benefits of diversity in higher education. Today’s ruling is a victory for all who value a robust exchange of perspectives and support our ability to prepare students to succeed in an increasingly multicultural society.

Universities cannot be excellent without being diverse. Public universities such as the University of Michigan and the University of Texas have a special role and responsibility to uphold these inseparable values.

It is, however, important to note that this U.S. Supreme Court ruling does not apply to the University of Michigan. Michigan is one of eight states that has forbidden the consideration of race in college admissions.

Regardless of that limitation, the University of Michigan remains steadfastly committed to building and maintaining diversity on our campus. We will continue to work toward that goal in ways that comply with state and federal law.

Additional background

The ruling today is consistent with the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in the case of Grutter v. Bollinger (University of Michigan), when the high court ruled that it was permissible to consider race as one of many factors in admission to achieve student diversity.

Last fall, the University of Michigan filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the University of Texas in this case.

While knowing the outcome of the case at the Supreme Court would have no direct impact on U-M – because of the state of Michigan’s constitutional ban on the use of race in college admissions – the “limited consideration of race, as one factor among many in a holistic and individualized admissions program, is necessary to attain the educational benefits of student-body diversity,” according to U-M General Counsel Timothy G. Lynch, an author of the brief.

The U-M brief said that “informed by decades of research and teaching experience, the University of Michigan is firmly convinced of the educational benefits of racial diversity as one component of a broadly diverse student body.”

Additionally, the university asserted that, “public universities have a special role and responsibility … because they receive public funding and represent the training ground for a large number of our nation’s leaders.”