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Press release/statement

Demos Urges Supreme Court To Uphold Diversity Programs In College Admissions

NEW YORK - As the Supreme Court hears oral argument in Fisher v. University of Texas case challenging the constitutionality of the school’s undergraduate admissions program on Wednesday, October 10, Demos stands with the United States Student Association (USSA) along with hundreds of other community, corporate, military and civil rights leaders, students and other allies in support of diversity in higher education.

The Fisher case invites us all to acknowledge the role public policy has played in widening racial disparities in college access over the past generation

Demos previously provided statistical research support and legal counsel to USSA, the nation’s oldest and largest student-run, student-led organization for the amicus brief filed in August. 

The brief argues in part:

Today’s college-age students are part of a generation for which the importance of diversity in higher education has never been greater. They are more diverse than the general population, more diverse than the same age group was even 10 years ago, and they will emerge into a workforce that is more diverse than any past generation’s.  Yet, because of residential segregation, large numbers of America’s young people have been and will continue to be deprived of any opportunity for cross-racial interaction in schools at the elementary and secondary level.  Institutions of higher education thus have a critical role to play in providing the opportunity for a diverse education that is necessary to college students’ future success in the workplace and as citizens and leaders.

“By gaining exposure to peers with differing backgrounds and experiences, students become better informed voters, jurors, school board and neighborhood association members, civic and military leaders and generally more engaged participants in their local communities and in public affairs,” said Brenda Wright, Vice President for Legal Strategies at Demos and co-counsel for USSA.

“To maintain a diverse environment that prepares students for success in our increasingly complex and interconnected global economy, the college admissions process should consider a wide variety of factors, including race."

"Preserving college diversity is critical to Demos' mission of fostering a more inclusive democracy and expanding economic opportunity for all,” added Heather McGhee, Vice President of Policy and Outreach.

“The Fisher case invites us all to acknowledge the role public policy has played in widening racial disparities in college access over the past generation, and to press the need for robust policies, from diversity considerations in admissions to debt-free college, to ensure that higher education remains a fair pathway to a diverse middle class in America."

Demos was joined on the amicus brief by the law firm of Shearman & Sterling LLP, which provided pro bono assistance on behalf of USSA.

Brenda Wright is available for comment.

For more information on Demos' work in this area, see: