Campus News

Bowdoin Joins With 27 Colleges in Filing Friend of the Court Brief Supporting Affirmative Action

Story posted March 07, 2003

Bowdoin College has joined with 27 other liberal arts colleges, including Williams, Amherst, and Swarthmore, in filing a Friend of the Court Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of affirmative action in college admissions. The brief has been filed in connection to the widely publicized University of Michigan case.

The brief endorses affirmative action as crucial to guaranteeing a diverse student body, which in turn has both educational benefits for students, and benefits for American society as a whole.

"To Bowdoin College, the value of diversity is clear and indisputable," said President Barry Mills. "Colleges must put diversity of thought and perspective at the forefront of what they do if they wish to be places of genuine and meaningful intellectual challenge."

In summary, the brief states that private, highly selective colleges are committed to obtaining the educational benefits of diversity, including racial diversity. It argues that colleges cannot obtain the diversity they seek except by seeking it directly, and that they should not have to surrender selectivity in order to obtain diversity. The brief also maintains that barring private colleges and universities from maintaining their own admission criteria would violate principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy.

Mills said, "We are committed at Bowdoin to a community of students, faculty and staff learning and teaching in the tradition of liberal education grounded on both the classroom experience and on the values of our residential community. We believe that a genuine plurality of perspectives, experiences and talents can only be attained through the deliberate and focused creation of a community that is socio-economically, racially, ethnically, and geographically diverse."

To read or print the Friend of the Court Brief (in PDF format) click here http://www.bowdoin.edu/president/pdf/friendOfCourt.pdf.

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