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OPINION: 5 Lessons to Take From the Fisher Decision

What are the lessons that colleges may derive from this case, beyond the rich descriptions of evidence at every turn? Five central points stand out.

First, when defining goals associated with diversity, institutions should “capture diversity in all of its dimensions” and reflect not only “an interest in enrolling a certain number of minority students,” even if such a focus is relevant. Put simply, goals and objectives can’t be reduced to pure numbers but must promote the actual “educational benefits that flow from student body diversity.” At the same time, these goals should be sufficiently “concrete and precise,” with specific expressions of educational interests, such as work-force preparation, cultivating leaders, and promoting cross-racial understanding.