The Supreme Court issues a new decision for college and university students

The Supreme Court issues a new decision for college and university students.

Resolution 6-3 found that admissions practices based on race violate the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down decades of legal precedent that allowed colleges and universities to consider race during the admissions process.

Decision 6-3 in Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Decision 6-2 in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Members of Harvard College found that admissions practices based on race violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The result raised nationwide concerns about racial equality and diversity in higher education.

In a statement released after the decision, students for fair admissions denounced race-informed admissions as a "legal covenant for colorblindness." But Justice Kitangi Brown Jackson, the court's only black justice, called the decision "colorblind to all" in her dissent. (Brown, a Harvard graduate, recused herself from the Harvard case.)

Civil rights leaders and advocates say this decision is a step backward for minorities and that colleges and universities must ensure diversity now more than ever.

"Today has proven what we already knew — we're dealing with a rogue 'Supreme' Court who has taken a knee for a radical minority. Now, it's up to every institution in this country, from colleges to corporations, to embrace diversity, no matter what," said Derek Johnson, NAACP president, in a tweet.

During his remarks about Thursday's decision at the White House, President Biden said, "This is no ordinary court," when asked if it had gone rogue.

At least eight states prohibit using race in the college admissions process. "California and Michigan are the most restrictive and the oldest," Mary Bigham, founder and executive director of ACCEPT, a nonprofit focused on removing racial barriers in higher education, told Yahoo News. A recent poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that more than 60% of Americans support affirmative action in college admissions and do not support banning the practice.

The decision will cause a ripple effect, says Liliana Garcés, professor of educational leadership and policy at the University of Texas at Austin. "It's a potential outcome that will have ramifications not only within institutions of higher education but in all other sectors of society," she told Yahoo News ahead of the verdict.

Garcés and other education and employment policy experts spoke to Yahoo News before and after the Supreme Court's decision. (Some responses have been slightly edited for length or clarity.)

What is affirmative action?

"What race-informed admissions do [is] consider all factors that add to a person's life story, including their racial experiences. If the court goes in the ballistic direction and says it will terminate all opportunities to benefit from race-informed and race-informed admissions," Bigham said before the decision. Like these, they dramatically change what can happen on that path to college."

"It's an approach to admissions that takes a holistic perspective and understanding of students applying - they look at all their backgrounds and experiences, including how race can shape their educational path or other life experiences. So it's a commonsense approach to admissions that public and private institutions use worldwide country," Garces said.

How will the college admissions process be affected?

"My biggest concern is that it would be such an overreach that not only would colleges be able to ask applicants questions regarding their racial identity, but students, counselors, and others speaking on their behalf would not even be allowed to disclose or discuss it," Bigham said.

"If colleges can't think about the issue of race, are there too many parts of a person's story to tip their hand? Their ethnic identity? And will all of this information be then stripped from the student's story or exited from their application? Are factors, activities, addresses, all of that completely devoid of racial identity? Will this be the only information allowed in this process? If so, to me, that's the worst-case scenario because it robs people like me of their story, identity, and opportunity to speak for themselves.

"Beginning today, American colleges and universities have a legal and moral obligation to abide by the Supreme Court's opinion strictly," Edward Bloom, founder, and president of Students for Equitable Admissions, said in a statement Thursday. "These commitments mandate that all racial and ethnic classification boxes be removed from undergraduate and graduate application forms."

Is the future of minorities in danger?

"We know from evidence in states that have passed government ballot initiatives that end up banning affirmative action policies for public organizations in employment and education. We know that these policies ultimately lead to a significant underrepresentation of students of color across all educational sectors, Which are important to provide those pathways to train our future lawyers, doctors, and scientists," Garcés said.

This has long-term implications for the employment outcomes of young black and Hispanic workers; On average, black and Hispanic applicants to UCLA earned roughly 5% less in their 20s and 30s after the state's affirmative action ban was implemented in 1998. However, selective universities are not the only way to succeed in the job market; I find that California's total number of high-income young black and Hispanic workers fell about 3 percent in the years after Prohibition," Zack said.

How will schools respond?

There are [more than 200,000] four-year colleges in this country. Many of them are open, and anyone can register to go; A bunch of them need to be more eclectic, [and] how to slice that pie is very difficult. So we're really in a place where this path varies across the board, by state, size, and many different things," Bigham said.

"The effects of this decision will be very different at different colleges. It will likely be most impactful at the selective public universities where affirmative action is currently being implemented — places like UNC, UVA, Georgia Tech, SUNY Binghamton, etc. — and at highly selective private universities." Plimer said. "Most college students in the United States generally attend non-selective institutions, and these schools are unlikely to be directly affected by the policy, although some black and Latinx enrollment rates may rise [among students who are no longer about to attend more selective schools] ."

What then?

"Given the upcoming admissions cycle, SFFA and its advisor are closely monitoring potential changes to admissions procedures. We remain vigilant and intend to file lawsuits if universities defiantly violate this clear provision and the dictates of Title VI and the Equal Protection Clause," Bloom said in his statement.

"These cases will challenge higher education institutions to make sure that they address whatever the consequences of the ruling in ways that don't undermine their educational mission. I hope institutions can meet that challenge," Garcés said.

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