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Association of Research Libraries Joins Amicus Brief on Behalf of University of North Carolina and Harvard for Academic Freedom in Admissions

photo of diverse group of college students in hall
image © iStock.com/Drazen Zigic

Along with 38 other higher education associations, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) joined the American Council on Education (ACE) in filing an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in the case of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard College and University of North Carolina. Together, these 40 amici asserted that universities and colleges have a constitutionally protected right of academic freedom under the First Amendment in matters of admissions and in devising their criteria “to select a diverse student body through holistic admissions programs.”

“Amici believe that a diverse student body is essential to important educational objectives of colleges and universities,” reads the brief, and “mandating that race be scrubbed from the admissions consideration…would chill student expression and deprive a subset of applicants of the full benefits of holistic review: those for whom racial or ethnic identity plays a role in their life experiences, leadership skills, or potential campus contributions.”

Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are members of ARL, and, along with numerous other institutions cited in the amicus brief, use admissions processes to further their educational missions. The Association of Research Libraries joins with the higher education associations in supporting equitable access to research and learning.

For further discussion of this issue, see the August 1, 2022, Washington Post article “Using Race in College Admissions Protected by First Amendment, Groups Say.”

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