University of California officials, student leaders and government officials spoke out against the United States Supreme Court’s decision to prohibit considerations of race at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina admissions programs.
The June 29 ruling deemed that admissions programs considering race, such as the programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, are unlawful. Several government officials have denounced the ruling, including President Joe Biden and Governor Gavin Newsom.
“As Justices Sotomayor and Jackson put it powerfully, no one benefits from ignorance: diverse schools are an essential component of the fabric of our democratic society,” Newsom said in a July 29 statement.
University of California (UC) President Michael V. Drake released a statement on July 29 condemning the decision, stating that the use of race in college decisions is “a valuable practice that has helped higher education institutions increase diversity and address historical wrongs over the past several decades.”
Drake said in the statement that while Proposition 209 banned the UC from considering race in the admissions review process in 1996, the UC has continued to pursue other avenues for increasing the diversity of applications and admissions.
However, Drake noted that even though there are other methods of ensuring diverse college admissions, the ruling will hinder a significant pathway in doing so.
“Today’s court decision bars the use of an important tool for other higher education institutions,” Drake said. “The consideration of race was not the conclusive solution to inequities in college admissions, but it was an important pathway to addressing systemic deficiencies.”
Without it, we must work much harder to identify and address the root causes of societal inequities that hinder diverse students in pursuing and achieving a higher education,” he continued.
UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang echoed Drake’s sentiments in an email to UCSB students, emphasizing the importance of diversity on UCSB’s campus despite the ruling.
“Student diversity is a top priority for our campus and for the University of California,” Yang said in the email. “Our campus is committed to advancing our mission of diversity and excellence, and providing access and opportunity.”
The UC Student Association (UCSA) — a UC student advocacy group — also released a statement denouncing the ruling.
“Today, the Supreme Court turned their back on underrepresented people in higher education,” the UCSA statement read. “We call on the University of California and universities nationwide to redouble their efforts to create racially just colorblind admissions processes.”