In response to a federal appeals court decision today rejecting a challenge to Harvard University’s affirmative action policy, Century Foundation president Mark Zuckerman and higher education director Robert Shireman released the following statement:

“The First Circuit’s decision today is a victory not only for Harvard students and future applicants, but for fairness and equity in higher education more broadly. Like many other institutions, Harvard rightly recognizes that considering a person’s racial background as one of many factors in admissions decisions is the right thing to do. The fact is that elite universities are still enclaves of privilege, disproportionately enrolling students from white and wealthy backgrounds. There already exists affirmative action in higher education—it’s just affirmative action for the rich and connected. Allowing the use of race-conscious admissions policy helps to level the playing field, ensuring that students of color and low-income students have the same opportunities as others. Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court will follow the lead of the lower courts and uphold the right of colleges and universities to use race in admissions policies, as has been permitted under the law for decades.”