On September 10, 2013, OCR closed a complaint against Rice University (Rice). The complaint alleged that Rice’s decision to change its prior race-neutral admissions system by adding race and national origin as admissions factors for the class entering in Fall 2004 violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. OCR considered Title VI and its regulations and case law interpreting the Equal Protection Clause, particularly the Supreme Court’s decisions in Grutter v. Bollinger, Gratz v. Bollinger, and Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.In applying these standards, OCR found that Rice’s decision to add race and national origin to its existing holistic admissions process to continue to pursue its compelling interest in diversity – an interest not yet satisfied at the university – did not violate Title VI. OCR determined that Rice’s consideration of race-neutral alternatives met legal requirements, was thorough and comprehensive, and that no workable race-neutral alternatives are currently capable of producing, at Rice, the educational benefits of diversity sought by the university. Accordingly, OCR found insufficient evidence to support a conclusion that Rice violated Title VI and its regulations with respect to the allegation raised in the complaint.
the Resolution Letter PDF (211K)