Gratz v. Bollinger case concludes

February 8, 2007

ANN ARBOR—The Gratz v. Bollinger lawsuit was dismissed today as the result of an agreement among the parties. This ruling constitutes the end of the case.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic 2003 decisions upholding diversity as a compelling interest, but requiring changes in the mechanics of U-M’s undergraduate admissions process, the court returned the Gratz v. Bollinger case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for further proceedings.

In today’s agreement, the District Court approved the proposed settlement, in which plaintiffs (Gratz and Hamacher) agreed to drop all claims under the lawsuit in exchange for $10,000 each to cover miscellaneous costs. They will not receive damages.

“The University is pleased with today’s resolution of the case,” said U-M spokesperson Kelly Cunningham. “The case was dismissed and there was no finding that the University’s pre-2003 admissions policies caused injury to the plaintiffs.”

In January 2005, the U.S. District Court significantly reduced plaintiffs’ requests for attorney’s fees from more than $2 million to approximately $670,000. This decision was followed in October 2005 by the court’s ruling that, in order to be awarded damages, each individual applicant would need to show that he or she had been harmed by the University’s admissions policies. That finding prompted discussions among the parties, which resulted in today?s decision.

On June 23, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decisions in two challenges to the consideration of race as one of many factors in certain admissions processes at the University of Michigan: Grutter v. Bollinger et al. (Law School) and Gratz v. Bollinger et al. (undergraduate College of Literature, Science, and the Arts). The court made clear that the consideration of race as one of many factors in the pursuit of a diverse student body is a compelling interest that produces educational benefits for all students, and further held that any consideration of race must be done in an individualized and holistic way.

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