Swarthmore Joins Brief Opposing Supreme Court Challenge to Use of Race in College Admissions

by Zach Epstein
Sharmaine LaMar, Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX Coordinator
Sharmaine LaMar, assistant vice president for risk management and legal services, director of equal opportunity, and Title IX coordinator, stresses that a diverse campus community is needed to provide academic excellence.

Swarthmore, along with more than 30 other private, highly selective liberal arts institutions, filed an amicus brief [pdf] opposing a Supreme Court challenge to how race is used in college admissions. The case, Fisher v. University of Texas, was filed on behalf of a white student who believes she was denied admission on the basis of race. More than 70 briefs have been filed supporting the university.

"We believe in the value of diversity in the undergraduate admissions process, and believe it directly impacts our ability to fulfill the College's mission to prepare students to be socially responsible," says Sharmaine LaMar, assistant vice president for risk management and legal services, director of equal opportunity, and Title IX coordinator.

LaMar says that consideration of an applicant's contribution to the College's diversity is part of Swarthmore's holistic approach to admissions.

"Diversity and excellence are not exclusive," she says. "It's crucial to have diversity to truly have excellence. A diverse community greatly enriches the academic experience."

Oral arguments in Fisher are scheduled to begin before the Supreme Court on October 10.