Carnegie Mellon Press Releases

Back to Press Releases

Carnegie Mellon News Service Home Page

Carnegie Mellon Today

8 1/2 x 11 News

News Clips

Web News Stories

Calendar of Events



Press Release

Contact:
Teresa Thomas
412-268-3580
thomas@cmu.edu

For immediate release:
June 23, 2003

Amicus Curiae Filer Carnegie Mellon Says Supreme Court Ruling Is Profound Confirmation of Importance of Diversity
University Had Filed Amicus Curiae in Support of Michigan Case

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University officials today said the Supreme Court ruling that favors the right of universities and colleges to use affirmative action in their admissions is a "profound confirmation" that diversity makes education work better.

Despite the fact that the Supreme Court issued a split decision on two cases filed against the University of Michigan — finding that Michigan's undergraduate admissions policies improperly used race but that Michigan's law school properly used race as one factor in determining admissions — it was generally a celebratory day for amicus curiae, or friend of the court filers in support of the University of Michigan and the right of universities and colleges to use affirmative action in their admissions.

Carnegie Mellon was the leader of an amicus brief signed by 38 colleges and universities from California to New York. Carnegie Mellon's brief argued that diversity is a compelling interest that justifies the use of race as one factor among many in college and university admissions, a principle that was expressly upheld in the Court's opinion today.

Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon said affirmative action principles had been essential to making Carnegie Mellon a diverse university. "We have always believed that universities have the right and responsibility to make education for our students all it can be. Our young people deserve nothing less. Carnegie Mellon and colleges and universities everywhere will be enriched by this affirmation of the principle that diversity is a compelling state interest which justifies the use of race as one factor in determining admissions."

Carnegie Mellon Vice President and General Counsel Mary Jo Dively said that diversity programs had a "profound and positive" influence on the Pittsburgh campus in terms of retention of minority freshmen.

In reaction to the ruling, Dively said, "The Supreme Court has given a decision that we can work with. It has expressly affirmed that diversity is a compelling state interest which justifies the use of race as one factor in admissions, has deferred to and respected universities' ability to tailor flexible programs which are constitutional, and has rejected the contention that universities must first exhaust race neutral means of achieving diversity. Graduates of our nation's top tier universities are called upon to lead a workforce and population that is increasingly heterogeneous. The ruling expressly confirms the value to society that graduates of those institutions be educated in a diverse environment, and that the pool of graduates is itself diverse."

NOTE TO EDITORS: Carnegie Mellon can offer experts to speak about the filing. Please contact Carnegie Mellon Media Relations Associate Gretchen Underwood at 412-268-4290 for more information.

###

Other Carnegie Mellon News || Carnegie Mellon Home