HR Policy Files Amicus Brief in Harvard and UNC Supreme Court College Admissions Cases

By Greg Hoff posted 08-05-2022 12:47


The Association filed an amicus brief in each of the Supreme Court cases involving the use of race in college admissions–Students for Fair Admission, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admission, Inc. v. University of North Carolina. The Association urged the Court to allow colleges to use diversity-conscious admissions programs and stressed the importance of such to ongoing efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the American workplace.

The brief detailed the business community’s ongoing commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and, in particular, at the corporate leadership level. The brief also highlighted specific HR Policy member recruiting and outreach practices and initiatives designed to increase the available pool of talent for hiring and development of the next generation of diverse corporate leadership.

The Association stressed the importance of diversity-conscious college admissions programs to creating a sustainable pipeline of diverse talent from which HR Policy member companies can recruit and hire, particularly for higher-level jobs or those that require specialized degrees. The brief emphasized that admissions processes that provide opportunities for students of all backgrounds to achieve a higher education are essential for establishing and maintaining such a pipeline, even as many employers focus on skills-based hiring. 

Outlook: The Biden administration also submitted a brief that similarly urged the Court to allow colleges to use race-conscious college admissions processes and stressed the societal benefits of a diverse workforce. The Court is expected to issue a decision in the pair of cases in its October 2022 term. Each of the six conservative justices on the Court has previously expressed – in cases or otherwise – skepticism towards race-conscious college admissions programs. It is therefore fairly likely that the Court’s decision would limit the use of affirmative action in college admissions, if not prohibit it altogether. Should that be the case, diversity-focused company hiring practices could be next to receive scrutiny from the Court.

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