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The Supreme Court’s decision Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard brought an end to affirmative action programs in higher education. The ruling has brought uncertainty for DEI programs far beyond just Harvard. Colleges and applicants are both struggling to interpret the Supreme Court’s ruling. The Biden Administration offered detailed guidance to help navigate the new restrictions.

“In short, institutions of higher education remain free to consider any quality or characteristic of a student that bears on the institution’s admission decision, such as courage, motivation, or determination, even if the student’s application ties that characteristic to their
lived experience with race.

… colleges can continue to collect and analyze demographic data about applicants, admissions and enrollments, as long as the data aren’t influencing admission decisions, and noted that reviewing such figures can help a school tailor its outreach efforts and assess the efficacy of financial aid or academic support programs.”

Although colleges can’t consider race as a factor on its own, they can consider letters of recommendations and essays that reference how race affected the applicant’s life experiences. Colleges can also continue to track demographic data, which will be instrumental in determining impacts of the Supreme Court’s ruling and other college programs and resources over time.

There is so much to unpack about the implications of this development – not only in higher education, but the spillover it is already having in the corporate world. To get more insight about how to navigate the increasingly complex surroundings in which corporate DEI programs operate, join our panelists on August 31 for our webcast, “Corporate DEI Programs After Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard“.

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The Editor

Ngozi Okeh is an experienced leader with a history of driving efforts to conceptualize, define, assess and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as strategic business processes. Ngozi is currently the Director of DEI at a leading marketing technology company where she develops and executes enterprise-wide DEI initiatives through rigorous strategic planning efforts, community partnerships, leadership collaboration, strategy evaluation, and careful management of communication and buy-in as well as policies and procedures.  Previously, she worked at an independent mortgage bank, where… View Profile