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Harvard Law Review Forum

The Mentoring Gap

Race and Higher Education Commentary Series


Recent protests on college campuses have exposed a paradox. Despite universities’ commitment to “diversity,” true inclusion — a sense of community across lines of race, class, and culture — can be elusive in higher education. Initially thrilled to receive offers of admission to selective universities, students from underrepresented communities often become disillusioned once on campus. Stereotyping, uninspiring leadership, uninviting pedagogical styles, and hypercompetitive institutional cultures leave these students cold and alienated.1×1. For a fuller explanation of students’ complaints, see, for example, Scott Jaschik, US Student Protests: Why Are They Spreading?, Times Higher Educ. (Nov. 16, 2015), https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/us-student-protests-why-are-they-spreading [http://perma.cc/HF99-ANU9]; Katherine Mangan, Students’ Demands Go Beyond Black and White, Chron. Higher Educ. (Jan. 28, 2016), http://chronicle.com/article/Students-Demands-Go-Beyond/235077 [http://perma.cc/VKD4-NRFA]; and Alia Wong & Adrienne Green, Campus Politics: A Cheat Sheet, The Atlantic (Apr. 4, 2016), http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/01/campus-protest-roundup/417570 [http://perma.cc/C6KD-2MHA]. See also Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Protesters Want Qualitative Diversity on Campus, Slate (Nov. 30, 2015, 6:08 PM), http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2015/11/student_protesters_want_qualitative_diversity_on_campus.html [http://perma.cc/L7XE-GFRZ].

The alienation of students of color and those from low-income backgrounds on elite, majority-white campuses is hardly a new problem. The project of diversity and inclusion in higher education, controversial since its inception in the 1960s, has long been more an aspiration than a fait accompli. The problem strikes many as more urgent today because of the social context: in an era of social fracture and civil unrest, students’ expressions of discontent are louder and sharper.2×2. For many students, the fight for civil and human rights that is occurring off campus intersects with and fuels the quest for inclusion on campus. No Internet user or television viewer can feign ignorance of the multitude of racial controversies percolating in this country: debates have occurred over racially disproportionate police killings, racially tinged rhetoric, and racial disparities in education, health, and housing. Before they turned their energies inward, to problems on their own campuses, many students, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, protested police killings. Celestine Bohlen, Students See New Hope in Bias Protests, N.Y. Times (Dec. 16, 2014), http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/education/students-see-new-hope-in-bias-protests.html.

I. The Long-Term Benefits and Short-Term Costs of Diversity

The students’ protests should force universities to confront a reality that many frequently ignore: while diversity can confer benefits,3×3. See generally, e.g., Mark Kaplan & Mason Donovan, The Inclusion Dividend: Why Investing in Diversity & Inclusion Pays Off (2013); David Livermore, Driven by Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity (2016); Scott E. Page, The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies (2007); Patricia Gurin et al., The Educational Value of Diversity, in Defending Diversity: Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan 97 (2004). it can also generate conflicts, as Professor Robert Putnam and other scholars have demonstrated.4×4. See generally Mahzarin R. Banaji & Anthony G. Greenwald, Blindspot (2013); Claude M. Steele, Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (2010); Robert D. Putnam, E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-First Century, 30 Scandinavian Pol. Stud. 137 (2007) (arguing that diversity promotes hunkering down and us-against-them interethnic/interracial interactions). Colleges can achieve diversity’s benefits in the long term. In the short term, diversity on college campuses can generate mistrust and threaten social cohesion.5×5. See Putnam, supra note 4, at 137; see also William B. Swann, Jr. et al., Finding Value in Diversity: Verification of Personal and Social Self-Views in Diverse Groups, 29 Acad. Mgmt. Rev. 9 (2004).

Because many students encounter difference for the very first time in college, social conflict can be acute in higher education.6×6. On segregation in American neighborhoods and schools, see Douglas S. Massey & Nancy A. Denton, American Apartheid 2–3 (1993); and Gary Orfield & Chungmei Lee, The Civil Rights Project at Harvard Univ., Racial Transformation and the Changing Nature of Segregation (2006), https://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/k-12-education/integration-and-diversity/racial-transformation-and-the-changing-nature-of-segregation/orfield-racial-transformation-2006.pdf [http://perma.cc/ED72-CEXN]. White students are the least likely of college matriculates (relative to African Americans, Asians, and Latinos) to have interacted with other racial groups.7×7. See Melanie E.L. Bush, Everyday Forms of Whiteness 145 (2d ed. 2011); Thomas J. Espenshade & Alexandria Walton Radford, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal 176–225 (2009). Segregation in the real world begets social silos on campus.8×8. The tendency of students of color on majority-white campuses to “self-segregate” has received disproportionate attention. What looks to some like “separation” is actually an effort on the part of these students to find community and seek relief from the burdens of “one-way” integration. See Beverly Daniel Tatum, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” 52 (rev. ed. 2003) (discussing “clustering by race” in high schools). More recently, articles have appeared commenting upon Asian students’ culturally distinct approaches to collegiate life. See Timothy Egan, Little Asia on the Hill, N.Y. Times (Jan. 7, 2007), http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/education/edlife/07asian.html. In addition, low-income students face unique challenges; when students from humble backgrounds encounter the lifestyles of wealthy peers, they frequently experience culture shock.9×9. See Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Rethinking Proxies for Disadvantage in Higher Education: A First Generation Students’ Project, 2014 U. Chi. Legal F. 433, 487–88. White and middle-class students are not immune to academic and social challenges; substance abuse, mental health, and behavioral problems plague them in the same way they do other students.10×10. See, e.g., Courtney Kueppers, Half of Community-College Students Report Mental-Health Conditions, Chron. Higher Educ. (Mar. 2, 2016), http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/half-of-community-college-students-report-mental-health-conditions/109122 [http://perma.cc/JZZ8-J7WX]; Katherine Mangan, Colleges Crack Down on Fraternities Amid a Wave of Crises, Chron. Higher Educ. (Sept. 25, 2014), http://chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Crack-Down-on/148999 [http://perma.cc/CJE2-SWZT]. This daunting mix of social and interpersonal challenges makes understanding across social lines a “test of creativity, skill, and will.”11×11. Tomiko Brown-Nagin, The Diversity Paradox: Judicial Review in an Age of Demographic and Educational Change, 65 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc 113, 129 (2012). On diversity and how it shapes the college experience, see generally Espenshade & Radford, supra note 7; Dorothy H. Evensen & Carla D. Pratt, The End of the Pipeline: A Journey of Recognition for African Americans Entering the Legal Profession (2012); and Jenny M. Stuber, Inside the College Gates (2011).

II. Inclusion: Institutional and Interpersonal Approaches to Accountability

To surmount conflict and achieve diversity’s touted benefits — cross-racial understanding, increased productivity, and better critical thinking and decisionmaking skills12×12. See Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003); see also Robert M. Carini et al., Student Engagement and Student Learning: Testing the Linkages, 47 Res. Higher Educ. 1 (2006); Patricia Gurin et al., Diversity and Higher Education: Theory and Impact on Educational Outcomes, 72 Harv. Educ. Rev. 330 (2002). — universities must engage in sustained efforts. Two types of inclusion strategies are critical. Universities must implement initiatives designed to promote both institutional and interpersonal accountability. Universities can pursue institutional accountability by ensuring that administrators and human resources departments adopt and implement policies and procedures designed to promote inclusion. Institutions of higher education can promote interpersonal accountability by seeking to improve the quality of relationships among campus stakeholders — students and faculty in particular.

A. Institutional Accountability

Universities tend to devote significant time and resources to institutional accountability: administrators manage diversity as if it were like any other subject of a regulatory regime.13×13. Compliance regimes in higher education cover a range of issues, including questions of fiscal mismanagement. See Kelly Field, Education Dept. Creates “Enforcement Unit” to Police College Wrongdoing, Chron. Higher Educ. (Feb. 9, 2016), http://chronicle.com/article/Education-Dept-Creates/235237 [http://perma.cc/D756-NPRM]. Like governmental agencies and for-profit firms, colleges establish offices of “diversity and inclusion” to promote compliance with diversity rules and procedures.14×14. See, e.g., Sungjoo Choi, Diversity in the US Federal Government: Diversity Management and Employee Turnover in Federal Agencies, 19 J. Pub. Admin. Res. & Theory 603 (2009). Diversity officers are tasked with ensuring recruitment of diverse candidate pools, implementing diversity training, enforcing antiharassment rules, and other such initiatives.15×15. See Myrtle P. Bell et al., Essay, The Case for Mandatory Diversity Education, 8 Acad. Mgmt. Learning & Educ. 597 (2009). Firms have employed this type of management-and-compliance-oriented approach to inclusion for several decades, and it is popular in many quarters.16×16. See, e.g., David W. Pitts et al., What Drives the Implementation of Diversity Management Programs? Evidence from Public Organizations, 20 J. Pub. Admin. Res. & Theory 867, 867–68 (2010); Beth McMurtrie, One Campus Approaches Diversity Training with “Hard Data and Careful Thought,” Chron. Higher Educ. (Nov. 20, 2015), http://chronicle.com/article/One-Campus-Approaches/234281 [http://perma.cc/M7PV-QM2C]. In fact, some contemporary student activists have campaigned for offices of diversity and inclusion, and in the wake of ongoing protests, prominent universities have agreed to establish new diversity offices.17×17. See Wong & Green, supra note 1.

The management-and-compliance approach to inclusion can be an important element of a push for inclusion, but it should not be the only or most prominent element. Diversity offices are not a proven, long-term inclusion strategy.18×18. See Pitts et al., supra note 16, at 868 (noting that there is little research linking diversity-management approaches to positive work-related outcomes and that existing research yields mixed results); Steve Kolowich, Diversity Training Is in Demand. Does It Work?, Chron. Higher Educ. (Nov. 20, 2015), http://chronicle.com/article/Diversity-Training-Is-in/234280 [http://perma.cc/BU5E-GM45]. Once consigned to an office for management, diversity initiatives can fall off universities’ agendas. For true inclusion, universities must do more than manage diversity.

B. Interpersonal Accountability

Universities should, I propose, focus more intently on interpersonal accountability — on, that is, building community by fortifying stakeholders’ relationships. Interpersonal accountability is fundamental to diversity efforts because inclusion succeeds or fails in the context of hard-to-police relationships that students develop with faculty and peers. These interactions occur inside and outside the classroom, beyond the immediate view and reach of a university’s diversity managers. Positive interpersonal interactions reduce racism and promote cross-racial community.19×19. See Nicholas A. Bowman, College Diversity Experiences and Cognitive Development: A Meta-Analysis, 80 Rev. Educ. Res. 4, 5 (2010).

Nevertheless, the interpersonal aspects of the quest for inclusion receive short shrift in conversations about diversity. In the haste to establish offices and enact procedures that showcase a commitment to (manage) diversity, universities overlook the salience of the hundreds of daily interactions that shape whether individuals actually feel welcome, safe, and at home on campus. Underrepresented students develop a sense of belonging — or of exclusion — as campus stakeholders experience each other in residence halls, cafeterias, social clubs, extracurricular activities, and, of course, classrooms. Students who do not feel like a part of the larger campus community therefore require personal engagement in all of these spaces. University administrators err when they ignore the centrality of interpersonal accountability to the diversity project.

Universities that do recognize the link between structural transformation and quality stakeholder relationships can pursue a variety of initiatives to promote inclusion through interpersonal accountability. Students and faculty can build quality personal connections and community through social gatherings, community service projects, and support groups.20×20. See Brown-Nagin, supra note 11, at 131. Each approach poses unique challenges and rewards. The remainder of this Commentary discusses the benefits and challenges associated with one particular approach — mentoring or, more precisely, closing the mentoring gap — as an inclusion strategy.

III. Interpersonal Accountability Through Mentoring

Mentoring — the pairing of a student with an experienced teacher to nurture talent and provide advice and support — can make all the difference in a student’s experience of higher education.21×21. See Lance D. Erickson et al., Informal Mentors and Education: Complementary or Compensatory Resources?, 82 Soc. Educ., 344, 344 (2009) (discussing the “powerful net influence” of mentors on the educational success of young people); Maryann Jacobi, Mentoring and Undergraduate Academic Success: A Literature Review, 61 Rev. Educ. Res. 505 (1991); Veronica Luna & Linda Prieto, Mentoring Affirmations and Interventions: A Bridge to Graduate School for Latina/o Students, 8 J. Hisp. Higher Educ. 213 (2009). Studies show that mentors help students navigate institutional bureaucracies, attain legitimacy, build social capital, and secure postgraduation employment.22×22. See Evensen & Pratt, supra note 11, at 49–54, 64–66, 195–205; Janice C. Bizzari, Women: Role Models, Mentors, and Careers, 73 Educ. Horizons 145 (1995) (discussing career difficulties for women who do not have mentors); Jacobi, supra note 21, at 505–15 (discussing how association with mentors confers advantages). They can also enhance students’ academic skills and promote positive attitudes toward education.23×23. See Annie Bernier et al., Academic Mentoring in College: The Interactive Role of Student’s and Mentor’s Interpersonal Dispositions, 46 Res. Higher Educ. 29 (2005) (discussing benefits of mentors); Erickson et al., supra note 21, at 344–45 (finding that mentors have a strong positive impact on educational attainment); Jennifer M. Good et al., A Promising Prospect for Minority Retentions: Students Becoming Peer Mentors, 69 J. Negro Educ. 375 (2000). Students with mentors achieve higher grades, graduate at higher rates, and are more likely to attend graduate and professional school.24×24. See M. Christopher Brown II et al., Mentoring Graduate Students of Color: Myths, Models, and Modes, 74 Peabody J. Educ. 105 (1999); Toni A. Campbell & David E. Campbell, Faculty/Student Mentor Program: Effects on Academic Performance and Retention, 38 Res. Higher Educ. 727 (1997) (documenting higher grade point averages and retention rates for students with mentors); Kassie Freeman, No Services Needed? The Case for Mentoring High-Achieving African American Students, 74 Peabody J. Educ. 15 (1999) (discussing the positive impact of mentoring on black students); Aarti Ramaswami et al., The Interactive Effects of Gender and Mentoring on Career Attainment: Making the Case for Female Lawyers, 37 J. Career Dev. 692 (2010).

Personal connections between faculty and students can be transformative because individual merit, while necessary, is insufficient for success. Individuals triumph at school and at work with the help of social networks and interested, knowledgeable, and well-positioned individuals. Mentors provide the boost that students need to fully develop their potential.

But students do not have equal access to mentors: a mentoring gap exists. Just as students are differently situated with respect to financial resources, educational opportunities, and academic performance, they are differently situated with regard to the ability to build a support network. The gap in access to mentors is frequently associated with students’ backgrounds — race, class, and gender. Wealthy, white, and male students are better positioned to attract mentors because they tend to have greater social capital.25×25. See Annette Lareau, Unequal Childhoods 280 (2d ed. 2011); Pierre Bourdieu, Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction, in Power and Ideology in Education 487, 487–507 (Jerome Karabel & A.H. Halsey eds., 1977). Students disadvantaged by race, income, education, gender, and other stigmatized social markers tend to have less social capital. These students find it more difficult to approach and secure mentors.26×26. See generally, e.g., Bizzari, supra note 22 (discussing career difficulties for women who do not have mentors); Jacobi, supra note 21; Lori D. Patton, My Sister’s Keeper: A Qualitative Examination of Mentoring Experiences Among African American Women in Graduate and Professional Schools, 80 J. Higher Educ. 510 (2009) (discussing difficulty faced by women of color in establishing mentoring relationships).

Certain faculty characteristics and behaviors may perpetuate the mentoring gap as well. The demographic makeup of higher education — faculty are overwhelmingly white and male at most institutions of higher education — can compound the advantages of economically privileged, white, and male students.27×27. See Race, Ethnicity, and Gender of Full-Time Faculty at More than 4,000 Institutions, Chron. Higher Educ. (Oct. 12, 2015), http://chronicle.com/interactives/fac-diversity [http://perma.cc/ES6M-66VU]. In addition, mentors sometime choose protégés who are “clones” of themselves or select mentees based on perceived ability. Either selection method can disadvantage students of color and low-income students (who face implicit bias and stereotypes).28×28. See generally Tammy D. Allen et al., Protégé Selection by Mentors: What Makes the Difference?, 21 J. Organizational Behav. 271 (2000) (discussing perceptions of ability and need in protégé selection); Robert T. Blackburn et al., “Cloning” in Academe: Mentorship and Academic Careers, 15 Res. Higher Educ. 315 (1981).

All of these dynamics make it less likely that economically disadvantaged, nonwhite, and female students will form mentoring relationships with experienced teachers. Consequently, these students are deprived of the academic, social, and professional advantages that flow from effective mentoring.

IV. The Mentoring Gap and Structural Inequality

The mentoring gap perpetuates structural inequality: disadvantaged, nonwhite, and female students need the guidance of experienced and caring individuals more than other students but are less likely to find it. The dearth of support networks in higher education for underrepresented and female students is, I suspect, a root cause of these students’ detachment from the very institutions that so eagerly recruit “diverse” students to join their ranks.

The work of the renowned social scientist Claude Steele illuminates why underrepresented and female college and graduate students, in particular, need support networks. Steele coined the term “stereotype threat” to describe the risk of negative stereotypes becoming self-reinforcing.29×29. Claude M. Steele & Joshua Aronson, Stereotype Threat and the Intellectual Test Performance of African Americans, 69 J. Personality & Soc. Psychol. 797 (1995). Stereotype threat can undermine academic performance and cause alienation.30×30. See id. In certain academic contexts, race and gender identity can trigger the threat; the highest-achieving students of color and female students are most vulnerable to the phenomenon. Studies have shown, for example, that when the race or ethnicity of a black or Hispanic student is noted prior to the administration of a standardized test, he performs worse.31×31. See id at 806–08; see also Joshua Aronson et al., Stereotype Threat and the Academic Underperformance of Minorities and Women, in Prejudice 83, 90–91 (Janet K. Swim & Charles Stangor eds., 1998). Similarly, when a woman’s gender is put at issue in high-level math courses, her performance suffers.32×32. See Catherine Good et al., Problems in the Pipeline: Stereotype Threat and Women’s Achievement in High-Level Math Courses, 29 J. Applied Developmental Psychol. 17 (2008). This Commentary focuses on underrepresented students and women; however, stereotype threat can be induced in a wider range of individuals, including white males. Joshua Aronson et al., When White Men Can’t Do Math: Necessary and Sufficient Factors in Stereotype Threat, 35 J. Experimental Soc. Psychol. 29, 40 (1999). Stereotype threat is an insidious part of higher education, undermining inclusion and universities’ missions.

Fortunately, the stereotype threat sometimes experienced by students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and female students is not inevitable. It can be reduced in a variety of ways: by de-emphasizing the association between identity and performance, by encouraging self-affirmation, by reassuring students during the learning process, by adopting a growth — rather than a fixed — theory of intelligence, and by providing examples of high achievement by members of threatened identity groups — as well as, I propose, by mentoring.33×33. See Good et al., supra note 32.

The validation that students can attain through mentoring promotes academic skills and a sense of belonging in higher education. Mentors can help create that elusive sense of community from the “communities of difference” on campus.34×34. C. Carney Strange & James H. Banning, Educating by Design 159 (Ursula Delworth ed., 2001) (quoting William G. Tierney, Building Communities of Difference 1 (Henry A. Giroux & Paulo Freire eds., 1993)). Hence, I count effective mentoring as a precondition to meaningful inclusion in higher education.

V. Closing the Gap: A Plan of Action

Universities can advance their missions and genuine (as opposed to merely cosmetic) diversity by devoting significant resources to closing the mentoring gap. I suggest the design and implementation of a systematic program to connect underrepresented students with mentors, all on a voluntary basis. To make a significant impact as an inclusion strategy, the full range of institutions of higher education — undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools — should commit to mentoring programs, along with other practices designed to improve interpersonal relationships on campus.35×35. Law school presents a special case. The Socratic method, the dominant pedagogical form, rests on a performative element; the approach is highly effective for many students, but especially challenging for others, including some — not all — women and students of color. See Sean Darling-Hammond & Kristen Holmquist, Creating Wise Classrooms to Empower Diverse Law Students: Lessons in Pedagogy from Transformative Law Professors, 25 La Raza L.J. 1 (2015); Lani Guinier et al., Becoming Gentlemen: Women’s Experiences at One Ivy League Law School, 143 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1, 4 (1994); Deborah Maranville, Infusing Passion and Context into the Traditional Law Curriculum Through Experiential Learning, 51 J. Legal Educ. 51 (2001). Better relationships outside of the classroom may facilitate better experiences inside the classrooms.

This proposal to advance inclusion through mentoring presupposes additional commitments from the universities. First, universities must implement strategies to remedy the current imbalance in mentor availability between majority and underrepresented students. In order to ensure that sufficient numbers of potential mentors volunteer to participate, mentors should be culled from the faculty as well as from the ranks of staff and alumni. Moreover, given the considerable demands on potential mentors’ time, incentives to participate are critical. Universities can incentivize mentoring by recognizing and rewarding it, just as higher education routinely rewards effective teaching.36×36. At the Duke University Graduate School, faculty and peer mentors receive recognition and monetary rewards for excellence in mentoring. See Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Duke Graduate Sch., https://gradschool.duke.edu/about/awards/dean’s-award-excellence-mentoring [http://perma.cc/GQA8-U935].

Second, universities must ensure that mentors provide students with quality support. In this regard, the choice of mentors is critical. Cultural awareness and consciousness of the phenomenon of implicit bias are prerequisites to successful cross-racial and cross-gender mentoring relationships.37×37. See generally, e.g., Banaji & Greenwald, supra note 4. These qualifications can be cultivated in workshops led by trained professionals.

Third, mentoring programs should be appropriately designed to best ensure quality interactions. The functions and goals of mentors and mentees must be defined; parameters such as minimum number of meetings and appropriate types of engagement should be clear.38×38. See generally Jacobi, supra note 21.

These commitments are both ambitious and achievable. Already, some organizations have implemented mentoring programs to increase the numbers of women and students of color in undergraduate and professional schools.39×39. Mentoring is a vital component of efforts to recruit women and students of color to careers in science and mathematics and to retain them in these careers. See, e.g., Vimal Patel, Science-Diversity Efforts Connect Grad Students with Mentors, Chron. Higher Educ. (Jan. 17, 2016), http://chronicle.com/article/Science-Diversity-Efforts/234947 [http://perma.cc/NG99-D8K3]; About Us, PhD Project, http://www.phdproject.org/our-success/about-us [http://perma.cc/Q99F-Y7VG] (mentoring initiative for business schools). The PhD Project has increased the number of faculty of color at business schools by pairing faculty with doctoral students in business administration. See id. And, for two decades, the Leadership Alliance, a consortium of selective universities and minority-serving institutions, has provided mentors to underrepresented students headed to graduate school. Medeva Ghee et al., The Leadership Alliance: Twenty Years of Developing a Diverse Research Workforce, 89 Peabody J. Educ. 347, 347 (2014). Many of these programs have demonstrated success in fostering students’ academic, social, and professional goals.


Interpersonal approaches to inclusion such as mentoring cannot, alone, create community on campus. As I have argued elsewhere, structural initiatives — including meaningful numerical representation of students of color, curriculum reform, and faculty diversity — are also important.40×40. See Brown-Nagin, supra note 1; see also Brown-Nagin, supra note 9, at 496–97. However, structural initiatives will not succeed without interpersonal ones.

Moreover, the point propounded here — that interpersonal and institutional change are inextricably linked — is deeply rooted in our antidiscrimination jurisprudence. Over sixty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that students of color — like all students — need support from highly regarded faculty and well-positioned alumni to prosper in higher education. In Sweatt v. Painter,41×41. 339 U.S. 629 (1950). the landmark case involving the University of Texas Law School, the Court held that the law school had to admit the black plaintiff, Heman Sweatt, to the state’s flagship law school partly because of intangible and interpersonal elements of a quality education.42×42. See id. at 634. The Court wrote that “qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness in a law school” included the “interplay of ideas and the exchange of views” between respected faculty and students as well as the availability of a network of esteemed graduates.43×43. Id.; see also id. at 633–34 (contrasting faculty, resources, and alumni at the University of Texas Law School with those of the law school at the Texas State University for blacks). Brown v. Board of Education affirmed that “intangible” aspects of education are invaluable to equal educational opportunity.44×44. 347 U.S. 483, 493 (1954). My call to universities to close the mentoring gap is no more than a plea for higher education to fulfill — at long last — its mission of intellectual and personal growth for all students.45×45. See, e.g., About Berkeley, U.C. Berkeley, http://www.berkeley.edu/about [http://perma.cc/984F-GN2Q]; Mission, Guiding Principles and Vision Statement, U. Colo., http://www.cu.edu/mission-university-colorado-guiding-principles-and-vision-statement [http://perma.cc/87W4-P4EZ]; Mission Statement, B.U., http://www.bu.edu/info/about/mission-statement [http://perma.cc/62WD-LKKE]; Mission Statement, Duke U., https://trustees.duke.edu/governing-documents/mission-statement [http://perma.cc/NC9B-QEXV]; Mission, Vision and History, Harv. C., https://college.harvard.edu/about/history [http://perma.cc/82LX-YZ2J]; The Mission of Boston College, B. C., http://www.bc.edu/offices/bylaws/mission.html (last updated Nov. 1, 2012) [http://perma.cc/P3ZA-VZT5]; University of Florida – Purpose and Mission, U. Fla., http://www.registrar.ufl.edu/catalogarchive/03-04-catalog/introduction/mission.html [http://perma.cc/3CF2-LPRK].


* Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History, Harvard University.