Press Release

Vassar Joins 32 Peer Institutions in Filing an Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court in Support of the Harvard and University of North Carolina Affirmative Action Cases

August 8, 2022 – Poughkeepsie, NY - Vassar College has joined 32 peer colleges and universities in support of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina by filing an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold four decades of precedent and affirm the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admission decisions. 

Cases filed against the two universities, which the Supreme Court will hear this fall, call for the Court to overturn the right of higher education institutions to consider race and ethnicity as one of many factors in college admissions.

Vassar President Elizabeth H. Bradley said the College has long been committed to an individualized and holistic approach to its admissions policies. “Creating a diverse campus community is an essential component of our mission, and that cannot be achieved without an admission policy that takes into account students’ experiences and social backgrounds, including their racial/ethnic backgrounds,” Bradley said.

The amicus brief highlighted that, “In a society in which race still matters, amici’s experience has shown the educational benefits of a diverse student body and the societal benefits of educating diverse future leaders. … Research confirms these diffuse and wide-ranging benefits. Studies consistently show that diversity—including racial diversity—improves learning experiences, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and interpersonal and leadership skills.”

The brief was filed jointly by the following: Amherst, Barnard, Bates, Bowdoin, Bryn Mawr, Carleton, Colby, Connecticut, Davidson, Franklin & Marshall, Hamilton, Hampshire, Haverford, Macalester, Middlebury, Mount Holyoke, Oberlin, Pomona, Reed, Sarah Lawrence, Smith, St. Olaf, Swarthmore, Trinity, Union, Vassar, Wellesley, and Williams Colleges and Bucknell, Clark, Tufts, Washington and Lee, and Wesleyan Universities.

Marking an historic and overwhelming show of support for affirmative action, more than 50 amicus briefs were filed, including a brief from 100 corporations and business organizations such as American Express, Apple, General Electric, General Motors, HP, IBM, IKEA, JetBlue, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Heinz, Mattel, Mastercard, Northrup Grumman, Procter & Gamble, Prudential Life Insurance and United Airlines; 35 United States military leaders including four Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chiefs of Staff of the Army and the Air Force, and Commandant of the Marine Corps; 45 healthcare organizations including the Association of American Medical Colleges, which represents 156 U.S. medical schools and 400 teaching hospitals; and the American Civil Liberties Union, among others. 

About Vassar College

Vassar College–based in Poughkeepsie, New York–is a coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college where perspectives cross, ideas intersect, and passion burns bright. Originally founded to provide women an education equal to that once available only to men, Vassar was the first all-women’s college in the nation to become coeducational when it opened its doors to men in 1969. Vassar fosters an intellectual openness and independence in students, who meet each other as equals, and are encouraged to absorb diverse thought and impassioned dialogue that give them the insight and confidence they will need in a complex world where they will make important contributions. Consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country, Vassar is renowned for pioneering achievements in education, for its long history of curricular innovation, and for the beauty of its campus.

Press Contact

Larry Hertz,, 845-518-3098, 845-437-7938 (Vassar College)

August 8, 2022