The Promise of Grutter: Diverse Interactions at the University of Michigan Law School

57 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2012 Last revised: 2 Apr 2012

Meera E. Deo

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Date Written: March 10, 2012

Abstract

In Grutter v. Bollinger, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld affirmative action at the University of Michigan Law School on the grounds of educational diversity. Yet the Court's assumption that admitting diverse students into law school would result in improved race relations, livelier classroom conversations, and better professional outcomes for students has never been empirically tested.

This Article relies on survey and focus group data collected at the University of Michigan Law School campus itself in March 2010 to examine not only whether, but how, diversity affects learning. The data indicate both that there are sufficient numbers of students of color on the University of Michigan Law School campus to yield diverse interactions and that positive interracial student exchanges are occurring. Nevertheless, the lively discussions drawing from this diversity anticipated by the Grutter Court are seldom taking place within the classroom, where they may be most important. By neglecting to foster 'diversity discussions,' law schools are failing to cultivate the academic and professional benefits associated with educational diversity. Only through classroom diversity can the promise of diversity envisioned by the Grutter Court be fully realized.

Keywords: diversity, affirmative action, legal education, sociology, empirical research

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Deo, Meera E., The Promise of Grutter: Diverse Interactions at the University of Michigan Law School (March 10, 2012). Michigan Journal of Race & Law, Vol. 17, No. 1, p. 63, 2011; Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 2019107. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2019107

Meera E. Deo (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4227 (Phone)

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