Diversity in higher education is under attack as the Supreme Court limits the use of race-conscious admissions practices at American colleges and universities. In On the Basis of Race: How Higher Education Navigates Affirmative Action Policies (NYU Press, 2023), Lauren S. Foley sheds light on our current crisis, exploring the past, present, and future of this contentious policy. From Brown v. Board of Education in the mid-twentieth century to the current Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Foley explores how organizations have resisted and complied with public policies regarding race. She examines how admissions officers, who have played an important role in the long fight to protect racial diversity in higher education, work around the law to maintain diversity after affirmative action is banned.
Foley takes us behind the curtain of student admissions, shedding light on how multiple universities, including the University of Michigan, have creatively responded to affirmative action bans. On the Basis of Race traces the history of a controversial idea and policy, and provides insight into its uncertain future.
Stephen Pimpare is a Senior Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.