Diversity in Higher Education

The AAUP has long advocated for diversity in higher education and championed efforts aimed at ensuring that students of all races have equal access to higher education. In the face of recent attacks from reactionary state governments and a conservative Supreme Court, the AAUP reaffirms its commitment to the crucial goal of ensuring that a diverse range of students have access to US colleges and universities. To that end, the AAUP pledges to work with faculty, college and university administrations, and social justice organizations.

Since 2020, state legislation has targeted efforts to foster diversity and address the United States’ history of racism by seeking to limit or ban truthful teaching about racial injustice. The AAUP has vigorously opposed these attempts by politicians to dictate what is taught in college and university classrooms.

In another significant setback, the Republican-appointed majority on the Supreme Court ruled in June 2023 in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina that the race-conscious admissions policies used by Harvard and UNC violate the US Constitution and federal law. This decision overturns what had been settled law for more than forty years. There is no doubt that right-wing politicians, their fellow travelers in the federal judiciary, and ideologically motivated legal groups will now seek to exploit the Supreme Court’s decision and expand their assault on racial justice beyond college admissions.

Those of us in the higher education community must continue to fight back and protect our core values. Ensuring access to higher education for all students and promoting equity in education and fostering vibrant college and university campuses characterized by the freedom to learn, teach, and conduct research. There remain numerous avenues for combatting racial inequalities in higher education, eliminating barriers to access, and promoting the success of all students, and the AAUP stands committed to helping members, chapters, and state conferences to explore those options and insist on meaningful change.  

AAUP Policy Statements, Reports, and Analysis

(See also our resource pages on racial justice and on legislation to restrict teaching and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.)

Resources to Preserve and Advance Diversity

Media and Commentary 

Additional Resources and Statements