Business leaders Sign Amicus Supporting Affirmative Action

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Excerpts from the full amici…

INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE

Amici are business stakeholders in the American and global economies. Amici operate across a range of industries—including technology, finance, healthcare, and others—and collectively serve millions of clients and consumers each year. Amici also collectively employ more than 4 million people worldwide.

Diverse workforces improve Amici’s business performance—and thus strengthen the American and global economies. Amici seek employees who have been educated at universities with exposure to a broad array of life experiences and viewpoints, and who can bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the workplace. An essential part of the diversity Amici seek is racial and ethnic diversity. Given these priorities, Amici have a significant interest in how universities consider and admit applicants: they rely on the nation’s schools to educate and train their future workers. Amici know first-hand the truth of Justice Powell’s statement in Regents of University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 312 (1978), that “the Nation’s future depends upon leaders trained” in American universities. The capacity of universities to admit racially and ethnically diverse student bodies thus has deep importance to Amici.

Since Bakke, the business community has consistently filed amicus briefs urging this Court to reaffirm the importance of student-body diversity on college campuses. See Brief for Fortune-100 and Other Leading American Businesses as Amici Curiae, Fisher v. Univ. of Texas (Fisher I), No. 11-345 (asking the Court to reaffirm the “significance of diversity in higher education to America’s largest business”); Brief of Small Business Owners and Associations as Amici Curiae, Fisher v. Univ. of Texas (Fisher I), No. 11-345 (arguing that “diversity is increasingly essential to the success of small businesses in this country”); Brief for Fortune-100 and Other Leading American Businesses as Amici Curiae, Fisher v. Univ. of Texas (Fisher II), No. 14-981 (urging the Court’s “continued recognition of diversity as a compelling state interest”); Brief for Dupont, IBM, Intel, and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Fisher v. Univ. of Texas (Fisher II), No. 14-981 (explaining that “any decision by this Court which would foreclose university admissions officers from thinking about race (and gender) … would deal a serious blow to [STEM] businesses and their efforts to remedy th[e] critical problem [of historic underrepresentation of racial minorities and women in the STEM disciplines]”); Brief of General Motors Corporation as Amici Curiae, Grutter v. Bollinger, No. 02-241 (arguing that the “future of American business” “depends on” universities’ ability “to select racially and ethnically diverse student bodies”); Brief of 65 Leading Businesses as Amici Curiae, Grutter v. Bollinger, No. 02-241 (arguing that “diversity in higher education” plays a “crucial role” “in preparing students to be the leaders this country needs in business”);  Brief  of  Media  Companies  as  Amici Curiae, Grutter v. Bollinger, No. 02-241 (arguing similarly); Brief of Exxon Mobil Corporation as Amicus Curiae, Grutter v. Bollinger, No. 02-241 (same); Brief of BP America Incorporated as Amicus Curiae, Grutter v. Bollinger, No. 02-241 (same); Brief of MTV Networks as Amicus Curiae, Grutter v. Bollinger, No. 02-241 (same).

The Court has relied on amicus briefs—including those submitted by members of the business community—to “bolster” its conclusion that diversity in education constitutes a “compelling” state interest. See, e.g., Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306, 330 (2003) (“[M]ajor American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today’s increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and view- points.”) (citing Briefs for 3M et al. and General Motors Corp. as Amici Curiae); see also id. at 329-31 (finding compelling interest “substantiated” by amici and citing briefs for military officers, businesses, and educational research association). The Court carried this point through to its most recent decision in Fisher II, noting that the University of Texas’s explanation that it sought to “prepar[e] students to function in an increasingly diverse workforce and society” was “a ‘reasoned, principled explanation’” supporting the conclusion that fostering a diverse educational environment continued to be a compelling interest. 579 U.S. 365, 382 (2016) (quoting Fisher I, 570 U.S. 297, 310 (2013)) (other internal quotation marks omitted).

The interests the Court and amici identified in those cases have grown in importance. Today, Amici understand that acknowledging, supporting, and promoting the benefits of diversity—specifically including racial and ethnic diversity—among their workforces is essential to meet client needs, achieve business goals, and strengthen relationships both internally and with the communities Amici serve. Amici rely on universities to identify and educate candidates who can fulfill those goals. Accordingly, although they do not take a position on the constitutionality of the specific practices at issue here, Amici—some of the largest companies in America—now reiterate to this Court that the government’s interest in promoting student-body diversity on university campuses remains compelling from a business perspective.

RACIAL AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY ENHANCES BUSINESS PERFORMANCE

There is no doubt that people of all races and ethnic backgrounds deserve a seat at every table and that increasing racial and ethnic diversity throughout Amici’s workforces is the right thing to do. Although Amici believe that this is reason enough to seek out racially and ethnically diverse employees and to promote diverse leaders, this brief explains a wide variety of research-backed, tangible ways in which racial and ethnic diversity improves business. Empir- ical studies confirm that diverse groups make better decisions thanks to increased creativity, sharing of ideas, and accuracy. And diverse groups can better understand and serve the increasingly diverse popu- lation that uses their products and services. These benefits are not simply intangible; they translate into businesses’ bottom lines. For these reasons, it is no surprise that companies are investing substantially in diversity initiatives—a concrete acknowledgment of the value of a racially diverse workforce and lead- ership structure to business success.

Diverse Teams Make Better Decisions

Successful companies rely on teams that collaborate to make better decisions. And empirical research demonstrates that racially diverse teams make better decisions. Diversity “encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving,” and exposure to diversity “can change the way you think.” Katherine W. Phillips, How Diversity Makes Us Smarter, Sci. Am. (Oct. 1, 2014).2 These benefits are “not just wishful thinking.” Id. Empirical research backs up what Amici know to be true from experience: racial diversity improves creativity, the flow of ideas and information, and the accuracy of information used to generate ideas and solutions.

Creativity and innovation. Amici have seen firsthand how racial diversity improves creativity and innovation within their teams. Empirical research on the positive impact of racial diversity on creativity in brainstorming, product development, and storytelling backs up these experiences.

Companies with pro-diversity policies are more innovative, even in periods of economic downturn. Roger C. Mayer et al., Do Pro-Diversity Policies Improve Corporate Innovation?, 47 Fin. Mgmt. 617 (2018). Drawing from new product announcements, researchers found that companies with “a range of policies and characteristics” that indicate strength in diversity (including racial, ethnic, ability, and LGBT+ diversity) were positively associated with the “number of new product announcements per R&D dollar spent by a firm.” Id. at 618. The study also found that the “positive effect of pro-diversity policies on innovative efficiency is stronger during recessions, including the 2008 financial crisis, suggesting that building a reputation of pro-diversity and a culture of inclusion pays off” long-term. Id.

Another study illustrating this principle asked small groups to brainstorm ideas to draw more tourists to the United States, and groups with the highest levels of racial diversity generated ideas that judges deemed “significantly more feasible . . . and more effective . . . than the ideas produced by the homogenous groups.” Poppy L. McLeod et al., Ethnic Diversity and Creativity in Small Groups, 27 Small Grp. Res. 248, 256-57 (1996). The researchers attributed these results, in part, to racially diverse members’ “knowledge of different cultures.” Id. at 257.

Research on the effects of exposure to varied groups explains the        association between ethnic diversity and creativity. One example is a study in which white undergraduate students watched a slideshow—either about Chinese culture, American culture, American and Chinese cultures in juxtaposition, or American-Chinese fusion culture—before writing a Cinderella story for Turkish children. Angela Ka-yee Leung et al., Multicultural Experience Enhances Creativity: The When and How, 63 Am. Psych. 169, 173-74 (2008). Researchers found that those who had watched the slideshow juxtaposing American and Chinese cultures or the slideshow depicting American-Chinese fusion culture wrote more   creative stories than other participants— providing “direct evidence for the causal role of exposure to a foreign culture in creative performance.” Id. at 174. Researchers also found that these creative benefits remained five to seven days later, when they were contacted again with a different creativity test. Id.

The experience of business leaders confirms that diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity, promotes the exchange of different perspectives that is central to innovation. One leader has explained that his “work as a scientist and as an entrepreneur” confirmed that nothing has a greater impact on innovation “than a diverse set of individuals driving toward a common goal to make a difference”; that “homogeneity creates subtle barriers to engagement, making it difficult for an outsider to break into the conversation”; and that “diversity of experience—which can arise from ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, professional, and experiential differences—provides fertile ground for innovation.” UNCJA 1574-75 (declaration of Joseph DeSimone, Founding Director of the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill Institute for Nanomedicine, Chief Executive Officer of Carbon3D, and recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation).


LIST OF AMICI CURIAE

Accenture

Adobe Inc.

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

Airbnb, Inc.

Alaska Airlines Inc.

American Airlines, Inc.

American Express Company

American International Group, Inc.

Amgen Inc.

Apple Inc.

Ariel Investments, LLC

Bain & Company

Bayer US LLC

Biogen Inc.

Bristol Myers Squibb

Chamber of Progress

Cigna Corporation

Cisco Systems, Inc.

Corning Incorporated

Cruise LLC

Dell Technologies Inc.

Eaton Corporation

Engine Advocacy

Etsy, Inc.

General Dynamics Corporation

General Electric Company

General Motors Company

GlaxoSmithKline LLC

Google LLC

HP Inc.

IKEA Retail US

Illinois Tool Works Inc.

Intel Corporation

Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC

JetBlue Airways

Johnson & Johnson

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.

KPMG LLP

Leidos Holdings, Inc.

Levi Strauss & Co.

Logitech Inc.

Lyft, Inc.

Match Group, LLC

Mattel, Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc.

Meta Platforms, Inc.

Northrop Grumman Corporation

Paramount Global

PayPal Inc.

Pinterest, Inc.

Procter & Gamble Company

RealNetworks, Inc.

Red Hat, Inc.

Ripple Labs Inc.

Salesforce, Inc.

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Starbucks Corporation

Steelcase Inc.

The Hershey Company

The Kraft Heinz Company

The Prudential Insurance Company of

America

Twilio Inc.

Uber Technologies, Inc.

United Airlines, Inc.

Verily Life Sciences LLC

ViiV Healthcare Company

VMware, Inc.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.

Zazzle Inc.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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