EXPERT REPORT OF PATRICIA GURIN
Gratz, et al. v. Bollinger, et al., No. 97-75321 (E.D. Mich.)
Grutter, et al. v. Bollinger, et al., No. 97-75928 (E.D. Mich.)

CONCLUSION

It is important to note that these compelling results come from data collected to assess changes in undergraduate learning and democracy due to key aspects of the college experience. The data were not collected specifically for this litigation. The studies were originally designed to help educators understand aspects of undergraduate education on campuses nationally, and specifically to help the University of Michigan understand how it was fulfilling its mission to educate a diverse student body. The breadth and depth of analyses performed here related to campus diversity experiences is unique for three reasons: (1) very few scholars have tested a theory about how diversity works within educational environments; (2) national data typically do not have extensive measures of both democracy and learning outcomes, and even fewer have adequate measures regarding classroom diversity and contact with diverse peers; and (3) no single institution has followed its students in relation to understanding diversity, and the quality of experiences students have in contact with diverse peers, each year of college attendance (for four years). One is not likely to find such detailed and multiple ways of understanding how diversity works in any single study currently in the research literature. Still, this broad and extensive analysis has many portions of it confirmed in other small and large studies in social science.

In short, this report presents both a theory of students' capacity to learn and acquire skills from diverse peers and a set of analyses equivalent to years of replication studies that strongly support the theory by showing that students, indeed, acquire a very broad range of skills, motivations, values, and cognitive capacities from diverse peers when provided with the appropriate opportunities to do so. A range of studies conducted in education, sociology, and psychology also confirms these results (see Appendix A), and taken together they reflect our collective advancement in understanding the opportunities and complexities that social diversity has presented to our educational institutions. In the face of this research evidence, one can only remain unconvinced about the impact of diversity if one believes that students are "empty vessels" to be filled with specific content knowledge. Much to our chagrin as educators, we are compelled to understand that students' hearts and minds may be impacted most by what they learn from peers. This is precisely why the diversity of the student body is essential to fulfilling higher education's mission to enhance learning and encourage democratic outcomes and values.


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