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U.S. Department of Education Building
Press Statement July 25, 2023

NAACP President Commends U.S. Dept. of Education Investigation into Harvard University Legacy Admissions

U.S. Department of Education Building


July 25, 2023

Contact: Alicia Mercedes,

WASHINGTON — Today, the United States Department of Education announced a federal civil rights investigation into Harvard University's legacy admissions policies. The announcement comes just weeks after the Supreme Court decision to strike down affirmative action, effectively ending race-conscious admissions practices that ensured greater racial diversity in colleges and universities. NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson issued the following statement applauding the Department of Education's decision:

"Let's be clear - legacy and donor admissions have long served to perpetuate an inherently racist college admissions process. Every talented and qualified student deserves an opportunity to attend the college of their choice. Affirmative Action existed to support that notion. Legacy admissions exist to undermine it. The NAACP commends the Department of Education for taking the necessary steps to ensure that our higher education system works for every American, not just a privileged few. As the Department of Education continues its work, the NAACP will continue to push every institution to embrace diversity, no matter what."

The NAACP has long advocated for policies and regulations at every level of government to guarantee a first-rate education for all Black students. Earlier this month, the NAACP called on more than 1,600 U.S. public and private colleges and universities with selective admissions processes to commit to the "Diversity No Matter What" pledge in an effort to ensure that higher education institutions foster environments mirroring the nation's diversity and increase the representation of historically underrepresented students. 



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.