June 29, 2023
SCOTUS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION DECISION
Today, the Supreme Court walked away from decades of precedent that has enabled America’s colleges and universities to build vibrant, diverse environments where students are prepared to lead and learn from one another.
This afternoon, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision, President Biden said: “While talent, creativity, and hard work are everywhere across this country, equal opportunity is not, and we cannot let this decision be the last word.”
Watch the President’s remarks HERE.
Read the President’s announcement of actions to
promote educational opportunity and diversity in colleges and universities HERE.
Our colleges are stronger when they are racially diverse, and our nation is stronger when we are tapping into the full range of our talent.
As our nation’s colleges and universities consider their admissions processes in the wake of the Court’s decision, President Biden is calling on them to seize the opportunity to expand access to educational opportunity for all.
*Specifically, the President is calling on colleges and universities, when selecting among qualified applicants, to give serious consideration to the adversities students have overcome, including: financial means of the student or their family; where a student grew up and went to high school; and personal experiences of hardship or discrimination, including racial discrimination, that a student may have faced.
+In doing so, colleges and universities can fully value aspiring students who demonstrate resilience and determination in the face of deep challenges.
*The Biden-Harris Administration is also taking action to support colleges and universities so they can continue building pathways to upward mobility and success for all students to thrive in the American workforce and our Nation’s military, including:
+Providing colleges and universities with clarity on what admissions practices and additional programs to support students remain lawful within the next 45 days as colleges prepare for the next application cycle;
+Convening a National Summit on Educational Opportunity;
Releasing a report on strategies for increasing diversity and educational opportunity, including meaningful consideration of adversity;
+Increasing transparency in college admissions and enrollment practices; and
+Supporting states in analyzing data to increase access to educational opportunity for underserved communities.
These actions build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic efforts to ensure all students have access to higher education, including by: securing historic increases in Pell Grants, prioritizing college completion, supporting America’s HBCUs, Tribal colleges, and minority-serving institutions, and fixing the broken student loan system.
Although the Court’s decision threatens to move the country backwards, the Biden-Harris Administration will continue to fight to ensure this decision is not a permanent step back for the country, and to preserve the hard-earned progress we have made to advance racial equity and civil rights and expand educational opportunity for all Americans.
Statement by Vice President Kamala Harris
“Today’s Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina is a step backward for our nation. It rolls back long-established precedent and will make it more difficult for students from underrepresented backgrounds to have access to opportunities that will help them fulfill their full potential.
It is well established that all students benefit when classrooms and campuses reflect the incredible diversity of our Nation. Colleges and universities provide opportunities for students to interact with Americans from all walks of life and learn from one another. By making our schools less diverse, this ruling will harm the educational experience for all students.
Our Nation’s colleges and universities educate and train the next generation of American leaders. Students who sit in classrooms today will be the leaders of our government, military, private sector, and academic institutions tomorrow. Today’s decision will impact our country for decades to come.
In the wake of this decision, we must work with ever more urgency to make sure that all of our young people have an opportunity to thrive.”
Statement by Attorney General Merrick Garland
“The Supreme Court’s decision undercuts efforts by universities across the country to create a diverse group of graduates prepared to lead in an increasingly diverse nation. It will significantly set back efforts to advance educational opportunity for all Americans. And it upends nearly 50 years of precedent.
The Department of Justice remains committed to promoting student diversity in higher education using all available legal tools. In the coming weeks, we will work with the Department of Education to provide resources to college and universities on what admissions practices and programs remain lawful following the Court’s decision.”
Statement by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona
“Today’s Supreme Court decision takes our country decades backward, sharply limiting a vital tool that colleges have used to create vibrant, diverse campus communities. Students of color have long faced inequities in education and college access, and today’s ruling is yet another blow to the fight for equal opportunity. As we consider today’s decision, our commitment to educational opportunity for all Americans is unshaken, and our efforts to promote diversity in higher education are undeterred. The Department of Education is a civil rights agency, committed to equal access and educational opportunity for all students.
I want to send a message to all aspiring students, especially Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and other students from underserved communities: we see you and we need you. Do not let this ruling deter you from pursuing your educational potential. Our colleges and our country itself cannot thrive and compete in the 21st century without your talent, ingenuity, perseverance, and ambition.
To our higher education leaders reviewing the decision: now is not the time to lessen your commitment to campus communities that reflect the rich diversity of this nation, which enhance the college experience in myriad ways and prepare students from all walks of life to live, work, and lead our democracy together. Your leadership and commitment to ensuring our educational institutions reflect the vast and rich diversity of our people are needed now more than ever. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting you in pursuing all lawful practices that meet that goal. We will continue working with you to raise the bar for inclusivity and work intentionally to better support students of color, because the inequities that exist in higher education access and outcomes remain unacceptable.”
Special Assistant to the President
Deputy Director of the Office of Public Engagement
The White House