Two months ago, in Fisher v. University of Texas, the United States Supreme Court gave a lukewarm endorsement of the University of Texas’ affirmative action program geared to attracting more students of color. Suffice it to say that the Court’s decision is limited to student admissions and the very specific facts of that case.
Of course, the country is in the midst of an intense national conversation on race and systemic discrimination, and as last year’s turmoil at the University of Missouri made plain, higher education is certainly not immune from this discussion. Facing demands from students and faculty members to address the lack of racial minorities within their faculty ranks, university deans and department heads are struggling to address those concerns while not violating the law (which remains somewhat murky). This article outlines the law regarding the consideration of race in employment and provides straightforward, legally permissible suggestions to enhance diversity.