The US Supreme Court is due to rehear a case on affirmative action that could have a far-reaching impact on the ability of universities around the nation to consider race in admissions.
Fisher v. University of Texas (UT) will determine whether it’s constitutional for UT to consider race as one factor in its admission policy.
The plaintiff — a white woman named Abigail Fisher who was denied admission to the Texas’ flagship public university in 2008 — claims her race played a factor in her rejection, and that UT accepted non-white students with worse grades.
In recent weeks, a number of groups have submitted amicus briefs in support of UT and of affirmative action in general.
One such amicus brief — which is a legal document filed by a party with strong interest in the subject matter — listed 45 companies, including Walmart, General Electric, and Apple, and addressed the imperative to retain diversity in higher education as it has direct implications on the long-term strength of their businesses.
“[We] are dedicated to promoting diversity as an integral part of their business, culture, and planning,” the group wrote in the brief.
“But [we] cannot reach that goal on their own. The only means of obtaining a properly qualified group of employees is through diversity in institutions of higher education, which must be allowed to recruit and instruct the best qualified minority candidates and create an environment in which all students can meaningfully expand their horizons.”
They also spoke about benefits of diversity in the workforce, arguing it spurs innovation and helps companies better understand consumers.
The companies noted that they have an interest in the case as the companies combined generate trillions of dollars in revenues and employ large numbers of students from UT and other public universities.
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