Penn State supports affirmative action ruling by Supreme Court

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In a 7-1 ruling today (June 24), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the importance of diversity in higher education in its decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The case questioned whether a university can consider racial and ethnic diversity as one factor among many in the admissions process.

While Penn State does not currently use race and ethnicity as a consideration for admission to the University, its leadership recognizes the value that a diverse student body brings to a community and is pleased that the recent ruling acknowledges the compelling educational benefit brought by consideration of diversity in the admissions process.

“This decision allows universities to continue to assist historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups with educational opportunities that might not otherwise be available to them,” said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. “Penn State has long been an advocate for diversity in higher education and, in watching this case carefully, it has reaffirmed our position that diversity adds to the student experience and to the overall quality of our University.”

Erickson said Penn State has been proactive it its recruitment strategies for a diverse student population, including its active presence in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Harrisburg through its Community Recruitment Centers. In addition, Penn State has recognized diversity as a core value of its academic mission through its strategic plan, “A Framework to Foster Diversity.”

“It is clear that diversity among our students must be recognized as being at the heart of our institutional viability and vitality,” Erickson said. “Promoting equity and inclusivity in higher education is not only the right thing to do, it is also the strategic thing to do as we transform to a more multi-cultural world.”

Erickson said the court’s near-unanimous decision today keeps alive the important ideal that universities have a compelling interest in a diverse student body and can consider diversity in creating an educational community.

Last Updated June 24, 2013