AACN Applauds Ruling that Upholds Race Conscious Admissions Decisions at US Colleges and Universities

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

AACN Applauds the Recent Supreme Court Ruling that Upholds Race
Conscious Admissions Decisions at US Colleges and Universities

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 26, 2013 – On Monday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially upheld current university policies related to race-based admission decisions by remanding the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case back to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration. This action did not challenge or overturn the legal framework for considering race as a factor in college admissions as set by previous court challenges, including the Grutter v. Bollinger case from 2003.

“AACN joins with the larger higher education community to applaud the Supreme Court for continuing to support race-conscious admissions practices as a means to diversifying student populations,” said AACN President Jane Kirschling. “Nursing’s academic leaders have long recognized a strong connection between a culturally diverse nursing workforce and the ability to provide quality, culturally competent patient care. Achieving this goal must be a priority for the profession and requires action at the individual school level.”

In August 2012, AACN signed on to an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) amicus brief in support of the University of Texas at Austin’s capacity to include race as a determinant in the admissions selection process. The brief outlined the importance of creating a multicultural student body to ensure a diverse future healthcare workforce. Given the gaps in healthcare inequalities and the expanded coverage to millions of Americans, organizations in support of the brief recognize that building a diverse workforce begins with higher education. Included in the brief, AACN contends that “Nursing programs across the country have also placed greater importance on educating a culturally competent workforce. The objective is to educate and train students to provide patient-centered care that identifies, respects, and addresses differences in patients’ values, preferences, and expressed needs.”

In addition to providing financial support for the AAMC’s amicus brief, AACN contributed to an advertising campaign led by the American Council on Education to raise awareness of and support for a favorable outcome in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case. This campaign included a full-page advertisement in the New York Times.

For schools interested in learning more about this ruling, the American Council on Education (ACE) is hosting a Webinar on July 10, 2013 at 1pm EST that offers a detailed discussion of how institutions can work within the parameters laid out by the court to continue to provide the optimal learning environment for their students. The Webinar, titled Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: The Supreme Court’s Decision and What it Means for Your Campus, will feature presenters Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of Michigan, and Dr. Marvin Krislov, President of Oberlin College. This Webinar is free to ACE members. For more details, see http://www.acenet.edu/events/Pages/Fisher-v-University-of-Texas-at-Austin.aspx.

For more information on the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case and the recent Supreme Court decision, see http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Resources-Fisher-v-University-of-Texas-at-Austin-Before-the-US-Supreme-Court.aspx.


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing. Representing more than 720 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s and graduate degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. For more information, visit www.aacn.nche.edu.



Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231