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NAACP Denounces U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

WHEREAS, on April 22, 2014, in a 6-2 decision, the United States' Supreme Court in the Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action case overturned the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and held that Michigan's Proposal 2 is constitutional. Proposal 2 is a 2006 ballot initiative that led to a state constitutional ban on race-conscious college admissions policies in Michigan. It specifically barred students from advocating universities to consider race as one of many factors in admissions; and

WHEREAS, while a setback for Michigan, this case did not address the merits of race-conscious admissions, which have been previously upheld by the Supreme Court in cases including the Michigan Gruffer v. Bollinger decision; and

WHEREAS, the question before the court was not whether universities in Michigan can implement race-conscious admissions policies, but whether proponents of diversity are allowed to compete on the same playing field as other constituency groups when seeking consideration in admissions (i.e. legacy, geography, etc.); and

WHEREAS, although the voters in one state - Michigan - have hampered efforts to diversify college campuses; this ruling has no bearing on the efforts that others may take; and

WHEREAS, Michigan's implementation Proposal 2 continues to allow other factors such as alumni status, geography, or athletics considered when developing admissions policies; and

WHEREAS, there has been a notable decline in racial and ethnic minority enrollment in Michigan's colleges and universities since Proposal 2 took effect. For example, African-American enrollment plummeted 33 percent at the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor between 2006 and 2012, even as overall enrollment grew by 10 percent; and

WHEREAS, to quote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in her dissent in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, "constitutionally permissible race-sensitive admissions policies can both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, and inure to the benefit of racial minorities"; and

WHEREAS, in a democracy, everyone should have equal access to education and the political process; and

WHEREAS, in a 2011 resolution the NAACP, citing that "diversity in the classroom is a core value of the NAACP," celebrated the decision of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Michigan's Proposal 2, and urged the Michigan Attorney General, Mr. Schuette, not to pursue the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP continues to denounce the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP will educate local communities, government officials, as well as college and university Boards of Governors, Boards of Trustees, Boards of Regents, and other appropriate officials of the constitutional and crucial benefits of equal opportunity programs such as Affirmative Action; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP encourages all colleges and universities nationwide to redouble their efforts to develop constitutionally permissible race-sensitive admissions policies and to make real, sincere, and effective efforts to include Americans of all races and ethnicities in their student bodies.