July 15, 2014




Contact: Glenn Landstrom

Phone: 517-643-5514

E-mail: glandstrom@xivfoundation.org


Fifth Circuit Upholds Race Preferences at University of Texas

Gratz Says Ruling Demonstrates Why SCOTUS Should Strike Down Grutter


NATIONAL – On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals once again upheld race-based affirmative action policies at the University of Texas in Fisher v. University of Texas. The Fifth Circuit’s previous ruling in this case was in question after a US Supreme Court decision in June 2013 that determined the lower court had not properly applied the Supreme Court’s “strict scrutiny” requirement to the racial policy at Texas’ flagship university.


Jennifer Gratz, CEO of the XIV Foundation, was not surprised by the outcome. “The Fifth Circuit ruled decidedly in favor of race-based policies before; it is not shocking to see them do so again,” she remarked. “This decision demonstrates the fundamental murkiness of the Grutter v. Bollinger allowance for nuanced uses of race in admissions.”


“In the Grutter dissent, Justice Ginsburg rightly pointed out that the Court was allowing racial preferences to continue with ‘winks, nods, and disguises.’ This has led universities to hide race-based decisions behind a supposedly holistic review process. In reality they are the same discriminatory policies with even less transparency. Citizens deserve to have clarity when it comes to whether or not universities are holding their skin color against them.”


Gratz was happy to hear that Abigail Fisher will appeal the decision. “Grutter has only muddied the water on these unsustainable policies, and, ironically, today’s Fisher decision leaves the door open for the Supreme Court to issue the broad ruling many pundits expected from its first hearing.”




The XIV Foundation is dedicated to the principle that equal treatment is the essence of civil rights and that all people are entitled to civil rights. Jennifer Gratz challenged racial discrimination in the admissions policy at the University of Michigan and won at the U.S. Supreme Court (Gratz v. Bollinger). She spearheaded the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and is the co-founder and CEO of the XIV Foundation.

July 10, 2014



Contact: Glenn Landstrom

Phone: (517) 643-5514

E-mail: glandstrom@xivfoundation.org


University of Michigan Pays Libertarian Student Group to Settle Political Discrimination Lawsuit


ANN ARBOR, MI – The University of Michigan has settled a lawsuit brought by a student libertarian club after the University spent thousands supporting leftist campus groups while denying funding to campus conservative and libertarian clubs. The University agreed to pay the U-M Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) a sum of $5,000 plus attorney fees for denying the student group funding toward an event hosted by anti-affirmative action activist Jennifer Gratz.


Ms. Gratz spoke about the importance of intellectual diversity at the University last October. The student government denied YAL’s request for financial support of Gratz’s visit, citing a policy of not funding “political” events.  YAL filed suit when they discovered the student government had approved funding for a radical pro-affirmative action group’s bus trip to Washington DC to protest at the US Supreme Court in favor of affirmative action. The University funded multiple other “political” events in support of immigrant rights, Islamic groups, etc.


“Too few students have the courage to stand up for diversity of opinion and thought when bullied, intimidated, and silenced by zealous university officials intent on imposing their views,” Ms. Gratz stated in reaction to the settlement. “The YAL students at the University of Michigan refused to accept discrimination and stood up for their right to equal treatment. The University recognized they would lose in court and quietly settled the matter. The U of M YAL students truly are the ‘victors valiant’ for standing up for the rights of all students.”




Jennifer Gratz is the CEO of the XIV Foundation, dedicated to the principle that equal treatment is the essence of civil rights and that all people are entitled to civil rights. Ms. Gratz challenged racial discrimination in the admissions policy at the University of Michigan and won at the U.S. Supreme Court (Gratz v. Bollinger). She also spearheaded the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

Have you been watching the World Cup this month? It’s been thrilling to see the US Men’s National Team advance to the elimination round.


But imagine if the US chose its players based on race and skin color instead of skill and ability. Would we praise the team for fostering diversity? Would we laud the efforts to boost traditionally disadvantaged groups? Would we excuse the results knowing that at least team selection was driven by “good intentions”? Would we demand that goals be worth more or less points based on the scorer’s skin tone?


Of course not. In competitive sports we recognize that team choices should be based on the skill and qualities of individuals, not the ability to satisfy an ethnic quota. This is beneficial to the performance of the team as well as to the competing individuals who are driven to improve themselves to make the cut.


Why is it any better when race-based decisions are made in competitive college admissions and employment? These policies diminish the quality of institutions by undermining individual character, merit, and achievement.


It’s long past time to end these discriminatory and harmful policies.


- Jennifer Gratz

When Pamela Swanigan applied for her doctorate at the University of Connecticut, she was told that, as the top candidate that year, she had received a prestigious merit-based scholarship. Instead, she was routed into the less prestigious “diversity” award solely because of her race — she is half black and half white.


Terry Pell and the Center for Individual Rights (CIR) filed a lawsuit on her behalf, arguing that students deserve to compete for scholarships based on merit, not to be pigeonholed because of race.


Ms. Swanigan says it best: “My goal is to ensure that students are treated as individuals regardless of race and regardless of other efforts to promote racial diversity. I wanted — and still want — to compete on the basis of my academic abilities just like any other student.”


I am personally very grateful for the work Terry Pell and the Center for Individual Rights have done to stand for true equality. CIR represented me in my lawsuit against the University of Michigan’s discriminatory race-based admission point system. We can always count on CIR to support equal treatment.


- Jennifer Gratz

Griffin Furlong lost his mother to leukemia when he was just 6 years old. Shortly after, he spent two years living in a homeless shelter with his father and brother. It wasn’t until the sixth grade that this family finally moved into a home, but money was scarce and they often went hungry.


Despite finding himself homeless again just a month ago, Griffin is graduating today as his high school’s valedictorian with an incredible 4.65 GPA. He plans to attend Florida State University to study civil engineering.


Griffin told reporters, “I try to accomplish everything I need to do. I know that I have everything to lose. So I just push myself. School is all I have, family is all I have. I am doing it all for me and what I have been through. I am doing it for my mom.”


What a remarkable example of a young person pushing himself to succeed in the face of tragedy and poverty! It is a reminder that skin color does not determine a person’s lot in life. We all have our own obstacles and opportunities that shape who we are as unique individuals.


Policies that sort based on skin color and treat people based on assumed need merely gloss over the surface and miss inspiring stories like this one.


No doubt this young man will one day hear that he is supposed to “check his privilege.” Hopefully his story will teach others about the pitfalls of making skin-deep judgments.


- Jennifer Gratz

Earlier this month, the Center for American Progress released a report which urged public schools to hire more “teachers of color” so that minority students benefit through having role models that look like themselves. On the flip side, this same report insisted that white students benefit from diversity by having teachers that look and act differently than they do.


Huh? This report actually argues that minority kids benefit more by having teachers that look like them but white kids benefit by having teachers that don’t look like them?


This story is another reminder that the debate about diversity is not only superficial but also is far too often a one-way street. Today’s conversation about “diversity” revolves around identity politics that treats people as representatives of homogeneous racial groups rather than as unique individuals.


Our conversation about diversity should lead us to appreciate the unique background, talents, interests, and opinions every individual brings to the table.


When diversity is reduced to counting skin color, something has gone terribly wrong.


- Jennifer Gratz

MTV recently conducted a survey which asked young people questions about their views on race and equality. The responses are remarkable.


When asked about race-based affirmative action:

  • 88% believe that favoring one race over another is unfair, because of their belief in equality.

  • 90% believe that everyone should be treated the same regardless of race.

  • 70% believe it’s never fair to give preferential treatment to one race over another, regardless of historical inequalities.


When asked about the principle of colorblindness:

  • 84% say their family taught them that everyone should be treated the same, no matter what their race.

  • 73% believe never considering race would improve society.

  • 68% believe focusing on race prevents society from becoming colorblind.


Young people recognize the plain contradiction between calling for equality and insisting that individuals be treated differently based on skin color. This is despite relentless indoctrination about the so-called merits of racial preferences.


Millennials are shaping up to be the least race-focused generation in history. The identity politics industry sees this as a bad thing, since it means the end is nigh for the influence racial screeds and discriminatory policies.


We should all be encouraged that the next generation of leaders is embracing MLK’s colorblind dream — equal treatment for all.


- Jennifer Gratz

This Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom have an excellent op-ed in WSJ explaining why we should celebrate the results as a “truly heartening American success story.”


There has been a significant amount of talk this year about the supposed resegregation of schools. (As the Thernstroms point out, a school counts as “segregated” simply if various minority groups constitute a majority of the student body.) The reality is that Brown did its job. It struck a decisive blow at the Jim Crow South and ended the government-sanctioned practice of separating children in schools based on skin color.


Today’s conversation about school segregation takes a disturbing turn back to pre-Brown thinking. While no one advocates for separation based on race, many argue that students should be sorted based on ethnic background in order to ensure that schools maintain the correct racial balance in schools. The DOJ has even gone as far as to insist that discipline must be distributed proportionately to every racial group.


This is absurd, and it highlights the perennial temptation to treat people as representatives of homogeneous identity groups instead of unique individuals.


I join the Thernstroms in celebrating the results of Brown. We should seek to find real solutions to the problems that ail public schools today, instead of imposing the stale, skin-deep thinking of the past.


- Jennifer Gratz

We’ve all heard the argument that without race preferences, universities have no way to ensure a diverse campus experience for their students. This week in the Detroit Free Press I outlined seven race-neutral steps universities can take right now to foster real diversity and direct aid to those who really need it.


For more than 17 years, the University of Michigan fought tirelessly to preserve racial preferences in admissions. They lost that fight last month when the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-2 to uphold the state’s voter-initiated ban on policies that treat applicants differently based on race, gender, or ethnicity.


This does not mean universities must abandon the pursuit of a diverse student body with unique backgrounds, talents and opinions. It simply means the cheap, skin-deep method of labeling individuals to boost racial statistics is increasingly no longer an option.


Time will tell just how committed university administrators are to true diversity.


- Jennifer Gratz

Last week’s momentous US Supreme Court decision upholding Michigan’s ban on racial preference policies preserved progress already made in 8 states, but also very clearly laid a path forward for ending these discriminatory policies for good — one state at a time.


Radical supporters of racial preferences have called the ruling a “racist decision” and accuse voters of being motivated by racism. The absurd nature of these accusations was on full display this weekend when I debated Shanta Driver, an attorney with By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), on Fox News Sunday. In case you missed it, you can view the full 12-minute segment here. It is definitely worth a watch.


Ms. Driver and her allies, believe equality means treating individuals differently based on skin color and that citizens have no right to end such unfair and unequal treatment. Though their message was defeated at the Supreme Court, it will no doubt resurface anywhere and everywhere individuals stand up for true equality.


In case you are interested in reading more about this case and the subtle efforts to sanitize the ugly nature of discrimination, I highly recommend two op-eds both published in the Washington Post:



This fight is far from over. In the wake of this victory we are renewing our efforts at the XIV Foundation to make the moral arguments for true equality. By using personal stories and innovative messaging, we can show the immense value of equal treatment and colorblind policies to every individual. This is how we change hearts and minds.


If you believe in this mission and want to partner in this work, please consider making a donation today.


Thank you so much for your support!


- Jennifer Gratz