WASHINGTON -- Federal officials sent a letter Tuesday to colleges as well as elementary, middle and high schools advising them that despite the Supreme Court's recent ruling, they can still use affirmative action programs as long as their state doesn't ban such programs explicitly.
"We are writing to confirm that the decision of the United States Supreme Court issued on April 22, 2014 in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, et al., leaves intact the Court's prior holdings recognizing that institutions of higher education and elementary and secondary schools may use all legally permissible methods to achieve their diversity goals," reads the letter from two officials from the U.S. Department of Education and an official from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
"These include, absent any restrictions in state law, appropriately tailored programs that consider the race of individual applicants as one of several factors in an individualized process to achieve the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body," the letter states.
Officials wrote that the Education and Justice Departments strongly support diversity "because racially diverse educational environments help to prepare students to succeed in our increasingly diverse nation."
"The educational benefits of diversity, long recognized by the Court and affirmed in research and practice, include cross-racial understanding and dialogue, the reduction of racial isolation, and the breaking down of racial stereotypes," the letter states. "Furthermore, to be successful, the future workforce of America should transcend the boundaries of race, language, and culture as our economy becomes more globally interconnected."
Read the full letter below.