The Catholic University of America

Welcome to the Affirmative Action section of our webpage. This front page will reflect our most current information on Affirnative Action affecting Higher Education Institutions. 

A Federal Legal and Policy Primer on Scholarships, Key Non-Discrimination Principles and Actionable Strategies for IHEs and Private Scholarship Providers, by Arthur L. Coleman/Teresa E. Taylor, Sept. 2016. 

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Decided June 23, 2016. In a 4 to 3 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas admission program, which allows the use of race as a factor. This case will be known as Fisher II, as it is the second round for the petitioner. 

Joint Dear Colleague Letter from DOJ and the Dept. of Education on the Supreme Court decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, issued Sept. 27, 2013. Also issued was a Q and A on the topic. Both documents affirm IHEs continue to "have a compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits that flow from a racially and ethnically diverse student body and can lawfully pursue that interest in their admissions programs". The Q and A note the 2011 Dept. of Education/DOJ 2011 Guidance on the Voluntary Use of Race to Achieve Diversity in Postsecondary Education is still valid. There will also be a video posted of the presentation made by the Department of Justice along with release of the documents. Those who attended stated it is worth watching.See also the Video of this event, posted in Higher Ed today.


Final Rule, Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors Regarding Special Disabled Veterans, Veterans of the Vietnam Era, Disabled Veterans, Recently Separated Veterans, Active Duty Wartime or Campaign Badge Veterans, and Armed Forces Service Medal Veteran, 78 Fed. Reg. 58613, Sept. 24, 2013, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

This final rule strengthens several provisions that are intended to aid in recruitment and hiring efforts, such as clarifying the mandatory job listing requirements, requiring data collection pertaining to protected veteran applicants and hires, and establishing hiring benchmarks to assist in measuring the effectiveness of their affirmative action efforts. See the Department of Labor one page summary and three page fact sheet, along with a Q & A. See also the Existing Rule v. the Final Rule chart.

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin et al., U.S. Supreme Court, June 24, 2013.

Court remanded to 5th Circuit court to apply strict scrutiny test from Grutter. The court did not uphold the 5th Circuit. The Supreme Court stated the strict scrutiny test required by precedent had not been properly applied by the lower court.  There was no overruling of prior Supreme Court opinions on affirmative action. Decision was delivered by Kennedy, with Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Breyer, Alito and Sotomayor. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, and Justice Kagan took no part.See the New York Times article by Adam Liptak, Justices Step up Scrutiny of Race in College Entry. See also the Chronicle article on the decision.

Notice of Final Rescission: Interpreting Nondiscrimination Requirements of Executive Order 11246 With Respect to Systemic Compensation Discrimination and Voluntary Guidelines for Self-Evaluation of Compensation Practices for Compliance With Nondiscrimination Requirements of Executive Order 11246 With Respect to Systemic Compensation Discrimination, 78 Fed. Reg. 13508, Effective date of issuance, Feb. 28, 2013

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is publishing a final notice rescinding two guidance documents: The Interpreting Nondiscrimination Requirements of Executive Order 11246 with respect to Systemic Compensation Discrimination and Voluntary Guidelines for Self-Evaluation of Compensation Practices for Compliance with Executive Order 11246 with respect to Systemic CompensationDiscrimination. Rescinding these prior guidance documents will improve OFCCP's ability to enforce the Executive Order's ban on pay discrimination.   See the OFCCP Fact Sheet on the recission. This action allows the OFFCP to focus more broadly on all aspects of potential discrimination in compensation.
Other Guidance on the Rescission: 

FAQ issued on Feb. 26, 2013.

Directive 307, Procedures for Reviewing Contractor Compensation Systems and Practices


Littler Government Affairs Team article


Petition for Cert filed with Supreme Court by Attorney General of Michigan, seeking to review the 6th Cir. decision striking down the voter referendum.

Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of University of Michigan, (C.A. 6th Cir.), Case Nos. 08-1387-1534, Nov. 15, 2012, Decision strking down voter referendum that had banned use of affirmative action by public colleges in Michigan. See the Chronicle article titled *Court Strikes Down Michigan's Ban on Race Conscious College Admissions*, dated Nov. 15, 2012.

Fisher v. University of Texas et al, brief of Respondents filed August 2012 in Supreme Court case # 11-345. 

The question before the court is “Whether this Court's decisions interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, including Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), permit the University of Texas at Austin's use of race in undergraduate admissions”. The American Council on Education filed an Amicus brief in support of respondents. See the SCOTUS Blog for more documents in case.

Fisher v. University of Texas—Transcript of U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument
Complete text (97 pages) or oral argument held before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 10. Audio of the oral argument is available here.


Brief filed by Petitioner in Fisher v. Texas, No. 11-345 before the U.S. Supreme Court. Other documents in case can be found on the SCOTUS blog.