Public Policy

The Public Policy mission of NADOHE is to create an awareness of and advocate for diversity issues impacting the educational attainment, access, and success of diverse individuals and communities in higher education and to provide a national forum for the dissemination and open discussion of emerging state and federal policy issues that may have an adverse impact on diverse constituencies.

NADOHE Signs on to ACE AMICUS Brief on Schuette v Coalition filed August 30, 2013
Chief Diversity Officers: Leading and Engaging in Campus Deliberations on Post-Fisher Admissions Strategies
Statement on Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, May 14, 2013
Response to the United States Supreme Court hearing of Fisher v. Texas et al., March 7, 2012

Chief Diversity Officers: Leading and Engaging in Campus Deliberations on Post-Fisher Admissions Strategies

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - July 24, 2013 - In response to the June 24, 2013, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Fisher v University of Texas at Austin, 570 U.S. ___, (2013), NADOHE has developed a statement entitled, Chief Diversity Officers: Leading And Engaging In Campus Deliberations On Post-Fisher Admissions Strategies, which contains practical information and strategies that can be utilized to lead and engage in campus deliberations on admissions strategies post-Fisher. This decision is of major significance to higher education.

According to NADOHE President Benjamin D. Reese, Jr, "The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) remains firm in its resolve that equal opportunity in education in this nation is a fundamental right and that the consideration of race as a factor in admissions, consistent with the law, is essential in advancing diversity and inclusive excellence in U.S. higher education." NADOHE serves as the preeminent voice for chief diversity officers in higher education by supporting their leadership and engagement of senior administration officials, especially at this critical time.

The intent of this statement is to provide practical information and strategies that can be utilized to lead and engage in campus deliberations on admissions strategies post-Fisher, notes Reese, "It is imperative that we continue to be zealous advocates for maintaining and increasing the diversity of students within our campus communities -- and as CDOs, we are well positioned to do just that."

NADOHE will continue to follow the broad range of debate regarding the impact of the Court's opinion and is encouraging others to gain a deeper understanding of the issues presented in the recent decision in the Fisher case, including position statements, research, and learning opportunities that are being offered by various higher education associations.

The NADOHE Statement: Chief Diversity Officers: Leading and Engaging in Campus Deliberations on Post-Fisher Admissions Strategies, was co-authored by Paulette Granberry Russell, Rosemary E. Kilkenny, Archie W. Ervin, Roger L. Worthington, Raji S.A. Rhys, and Benjamin D. Reese. Camille Jackson is gratefully acknowledged for her role in editing the statement.

The statement accompanies this press release. For more information about NADOHE, please call 561-472-8479 or visit

NADOHE Statement

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

What does NADOHE offer to the discussion?

At the heart of an effective democracy is an informed and engaged citizenry.  The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education [NADOHE] serves the public by bringing robust social science research to bear on contemporary issues related to access, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.  In this expert role, NADOHE informs the discourse occurring around the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

What is Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action Case?

The Supreme Court has recognized the right of public universities to use holistic admissions to build a student body representing diversity in all of it forms, including racial diversity (2003).  The central question in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action is whether or not state constitutional amendments such as Michigan’s Proposal 2 (2006) banning the consideration of race as one of many factors in college admissions violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.  Michigan’s Proposal 2 selectively targets race, sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin, imposing higher burdens on those who wish to advocate for these forms of diversity.

Meanwhile, other admissions considerations are left alone, including preferences for children of alumni. When Proposal 2 and similar state initiatives were adopted, flagship public universities experienced a precipitous drop in the enrollment of Black, Hispanic and Native American students.  These ballot amendments impacted not only admissions, but also financial aid, student outreach, and retention programming.  Thus, these initiatives were a barrier to obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, benefits which have been recognized by the Supreme Court as a “compelling state interest.”

In November 2012, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that initiatives such as Proposal 2 do violate the Equal Protection Clause and it is now up to the Supreme Court in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action to uphold the Appeal Court Decision or not.

What are the issues in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action?

There are two critical benefits to students that will be restored should the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action prevail in the upcoming Supreme Court hearing in the fall.

Educational decisions remain in the hands of the experts.

Should the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision be upheld by the Supreme Court they will affirm the decision in Grutter (2003) which deferred to educational institutions to use their expert educational judgment to decide, in a narrowly tailored manner, to use race as one of many tools [e.g., community service, work experience, socioeconomic background, letters of recommendation, etc.] in a holistic admissions process to foster the fertile academic environment in which all students thrive.

Educational benefits for all students.

The social science research is clear  all students derive significant educational benefits from
learning in racially diverse academic communities Astin, 1993; Gurin 1999, 2002; Luo & Jamieson-Drake, 2009;Maruyama and Moreno, 2000; Milem and Hakuta, 2000; Pascarella et al., 1996 and more). The U.S. Supreme Court recognized this fact in the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger and the 1978 Bakke v. University of California cases.  In these cases the Supreme Court recognized a diverse student body as a compelling state interest because of the educational benefits for all students.

NADOHE is committed to educating our next generation of leaders, who will work in diverse teams, solving nuanced and complex global problems.  To prepare our students, educational experts must be able to use all the tools at their disposal to provide the highest quality education possible.  In order to do so, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action must prevail.  Only then will our students prevail.

The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE)

Response to the United States Supreme Court hearing of Fisher v. Texas et al.
March 7, 2012

As the preeminent voice for diversity officers in higher education, NADOHE strongly supports the use of affirmative action in college and university admissions. We do so because the social science evidence is clear - affirmative action in higher education advances equal access to higher education for students from all backgrounds and promotes the educational benefits of learning on diverse college campuses.

The practice of considering race as one of many factors in admission to our nation's colleges and universities was upheld in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), where the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School. In her opinion for the court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor asserted that the University of Michigan Law School had a compelling interest in promoting diversity within its student body. She argued that universities are the training ground for our nation's leaders and that society as a whole has a stake in diversity on campuses: "In order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity." If U.S. colleges and universities are to remain relevant they should be an active partner in assisting our nation and industry by preparing talented students to live and work in a diverse and multicultural world.

In the Bakke decision, Justice Powell affirmatively addressed the use of race in a "holistic" admissions process by recognizing a constitutional aspect of educational autonomy for universities and colleges in deciding mission, purpose, and practices. Justice Powell stated "the freedom of a university to make its own judgments as to education includes the selection of its student body" Bakke, supra, at 312. Colleges and universities are experts in enrollment management and are purposeful in their selection process and student body makeup. In addition, they fulfill this charge of transmitting knowledge and creating an environment where diversity of thought and perspectives are exchanged by incorporating diversity in the student population. Diversity benefits all students not just racial and ethnic minority students - and higher education has instituted policies and procedures to achieve these goals.

Diversity in higher education must be a national priority if we are to meet the college completion agenda set out by public policy. The Obama administration has set forth ambitious educational attainment goals and has challenged states and higher education institutions to increase students graduating from college. As stated in Race to the Top, "providing a high-quality education to every young American is vital to the health of our nation's democracy and the strength of our nation's economy. In a 21st century world, education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity and success - it is a prerequisite." In the race to meet these educational goals, diversity on our college campuses and student body becomes an economic and social imperative for this nation. Education is critical and diversifying higher education is inextricably tied to the social and economic destinies of all Americans. NADOHE stands firm in its support of affirmative action and urges all institutions of higher education to stay determined in making the case that sustains and safeguards diversity.


Leading Higher Education Towards Inclusive Excellence