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2003 Swarthmore Joins Amicus Brief

Swarthmore students outside the Supreme Court.

In February, Swarthmore joined 27 highly selective liberal arts colleges in a "friend of the court" brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of affirmative action in college admissions. The brief asked the court to preserve the freedom of colleges and universities to consider race as one of many factors when admitting students to achieve diversity and select the most promising students.

"We believe that diversity is essential to our educational mission," said President Alfred H. Bloom at the time of the brief's filing, "essential because we are committed to developing leaders from across the range of American society and essential because we are committed to offering all students the richly diverse educational environment required to build leadership skills for our diverse society and world."

In the summary of the argument of the amici curiae brief, the colleges urged the Supreme Court to "consider the experience of admissions before diversity was highly valued and before race-conscious approaches were employed, and the progress toward more equal opportunity since that revolution. It should consider the realities of admitting applicants, to serve a highly selective college's mission, in a society in which race still matters in determining a person's available opportunities and life experience, and the effects of discrimination and entrenched discrimination still linger."