Social Scientists File Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

A group of social scientists today filed a legal brief with the U.S. Supreme Court with research offering a deeper understanding of how a diverse educational environment benefits White students as well as students of color, and why diversity benefits society as whole, even more than previously understood.

The brief cites studies, provided to the Supreme Court for the first time, showing that race-conscious admissions policies like that used by the University of Texas at Austin result in a more diverse student body, which is essential to produce leaders able to compete in the 21st century global marketplace. The brief also explains how structural barriers inhibit educational opportunity.

The Equal Justice Society, the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and the Haas Diversity Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote the amicus (“friend of the court”) brief on behalf of 13 of the nation’s leading social scientists in the case of Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Victoria Plaut, Professor of Law and Social Science at the University of California, Berkeley, led the coordination of social scientists, and Dr. Plaut and students from the Berkeley Law Culture, Diversity & Intergroup Relations Lab helped compile the research for the brief. Nicole Arlette Hirsch, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Harvard University, also assisted with the brief.

The brief provides examples of the most recent social science research, offering a deeper understanding of why diversity is even more crucial to academic achievement and civic engagement than previously understood. Research presented for the first time to the Supreme Court shows how diversity improves academic performance, reduces prejudice, lowers stress and psychological barriers, and has broad positive effects on workforce development.

Read the full announcement and download a PDF of the amicus brief.

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