OAH Issues Statement on SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decisions

June 30, 2023

The Organization of American Historians has issued a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in the cases of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFAI) v. President and Fellows of Harvard and SFAI v. University of North Carolina that disallow race-conscious admission practices at private and public institutions of higher education. The statement objects to the rulings, noting that they “[twist] the intent of both the 14th amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” but “Historical racial and ethnic discrimination, especially in the context of access to high-performing schools and generational accumulation of economic and educational resources, continue to profoundly shape access in the modern higher education landscape and thus the society at large.” The statement calls for a “a new commitment to diversity in higher education so that the next generation of historians can continue to examine and teach the lessons of our nation’s past and of American democracy.”

OAH also endorsed the statement on the rulings issued by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).

The Organization of American Historians issues advocacy statements on issues of particular interest to our members and the wider historical community, bringing the expertise of professional historians to bear on pressing current issues. Through its advocacy efforts, the OAH supports excellence in the study and teaching of American history, promotes informed discussion of and engagement with historical questions, promotes access to historical records and resources, and encourages equitable treatment of all practitioners of history.