On March 19, 2013 closed a complaint against the University of Virginia (the University). The complainant alleged that the University discriminated against White and male applicants by considering race and gender as factors in admissions as a means to achieve diversity in its undergraduate classes. Under Title VI, strict scrutiny review is applied to the use of an individual’s race in admissions in federally assisted programs. Under the strict scrutiny standard of review, the recipient must have a compelling interest for using race and its use of race must be narrowly tailored to that interest. OCR stated that the University has a compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits of diversity, as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice in the Guidance on the Voluntary Use of Race to Achieve Diversity in Postsecondary Education. OCR also found that the admissions process met the second requirement of strict scrutiny: narrow tailoring. OCR concluded the university uses a holistic admissions process, and seeks a meaningful mass of students across all characteristics, not just in terms of racial diversity. OCR found no evidence that the University’s gender-neutral admissions process was in violation of Title IX.
the Resolution Letter PDF (204K)