President Lee C. Bollinger Responds to Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Ruling

June 23, 2016
Columbia Lee C. Bollinger Affirmative Action

Photo by Getty Images for The New York Times

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollingera strong advocate of affirmative action in college and university admissions who, while President at the University of Michigan, led that university’s defense of such diversity efforts in the case that was largely upheld by the Supreme Court todayissued the following statement about the Fisher v. University of Texas ruling:

With today's decision, the Supreme Court has ensured that our nation's universities and colleges can continue to assemble the kind of truly diverse student bodies that are essential to achieving the highest levels of excellence in teaching, learning and research. The ruling reaffirms the essential holding of Grutter v. Bollinger that narrowly tailored affirmative action programs can be justified by a range of important educational goals, including ending stereotypes and preparing students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society.

The fact is, affirmative action in higher education has been overwhelmingly successful and we should be proud of the impact it has had not only on college campuses, but in moving us closer to the integrated society first envisioned by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. But the sad reality is that racial discrimination has deep roots in our history and an enduring impact on our society, especially in a public education system that remains overwhelmingly segregated and unequal. By preserving affirmative action in college admissions, this ruling sustains an essential element of the nation's continuing efforts to address its defining historical challenge.