For many students, college is the first time that they have meaningful interactions with people of other races. Because many of our nation’s neighborhoods and schools remain segregated, not by law but in fact, the opportunities to learn from, work with, and live alongside people who are different are often limited in American life. For decades, the United States Supreme Court has helped to break down these barriers through landmark rulings that paved he way for the nation’s universities to pursue the twin goals of academic excellence and broad diversity. But a major case now before the Court could determine whether universities will be able to consciously continue their role of bringing people from different racial backgrounds together.
As the acting President of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”), I have a particular legal vantage point on the issue of diversity in higher education. LDF filed a brief on behalf of African-American students and alumni in the Supreme Court attesting to the critical role that college plays in expanding opportunity for all students.
But I also have a personal perspective.