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Standing Our Ground: A Guidebook for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era


A year after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the value of diverse learning environments but struck down formulaic or points-based approaches to undergraduate admissions, AAAS issued this report to clarify legally defensible options for protecting diversity in science and engineering programs.

Emerging from a recent invitation-only think-tank sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Standing Our Ground provides legal guidance on two Michigan rulings that affirmed the importance of a diverse learning environment, but struck down the use of race as a quantitative "plus factor" in undergraduate admissions decisions. The mixed Grutter and Gratz messages, issued in June 2003, triggered confusion among academic, non-profit, and federal institutions seeking to extend the benefits of education to all.

Standing Our Ground also features a "legal primer" to help guide university counsels in interpreting the Grutter and Gratz rulings. It also describes eight "design principles" that may serve as a checklist.

To request a hard copy of Standing Our Ground, email

The report may be reproduced in whole or part without AAAS permission. However, the authors would appreciate notification of such reproduction through the e-mail address below.

Table of Contents
Acronym List
Legal Primer
Design Principles
A. Report of the Joint AAAS/NACME Conference

    Select Data Compendium
B. Conference Agenda
    Setting the Stage - Timeline
    The Beauty of Diverse Talent - Shirley Ann Jackson
    Science, Technology, and America's Future - C.M. Vest
C. Background Readings
     Reprint: "The Long Road to Race-Blindness" (Science, vol. 302, Oct. 24, 2003) - Thomas J. Kane; Part 1; Part 2
     Authors’ Biosketches
D. Responses to Freedom of Information Act Requests

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See also news release, "New AAAS/NACME Study Details Latest Options for Protecting Diversity in S&T Fields."