Awakening Our Democracy: Affirmative Action

Mar 2023

For decades many universities have used race as a factor in admissions decisions. This year, two cases, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, are before the Supreme Court on the matter. The decision on these cases is the subject of great anticipation for the Court this term, “a blockbuster” that has the potential to reshape American life.  Awakening Our Democracy: Affirmative Action, the Supreme Court and the Road Ahead for Higher Education is a roundtable discussion on the significant questions these cases provoke. President Lee C. Bollinger will offer framing remarks grounded in his newly released work, A Legacy of Discrimination: The Essential Constitutionality of Affirmative Action, in which he and his co-author make the case that America’s obligation to remediate past discrimination based on race is not only constitutionally permissible, it is morally mandated. Register and learn more

Opening Remarks: President Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia University

Moderator: Jess Bravin, Supreme Court Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal


  • Olatunde C. Johnson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg '59 Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Mike Hoa Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development  
  • Theodore M. Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Civil Rights

This event is co-sponsored by University Life, Office of the President, and Columbia Law School.

The roundtable will also be livestreamed on University Life’s website and Columbia University's Youtube Channel. You do not need to register if you plan to watch the event via livestream. 

Columbia University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. If you require disability accommodations to attend an event at Columbia University, please contact Disability Services ([email protected] or 212-854-2388) at least 10 days in advance of the event.

University Life reserves the right to capture and use images (including video, photo, audio) of student participants at this event in its current or future marketing materials. These materials include but are not limited to: social media, digital and/or print posters, email and web-based materials. By attending and participating in this event, you are consenting to having your image captured for these purposes. 

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