WASHINGTON – The onset of rain did not deter students and affirmative action supporters from protesting Monday morning outside the US Supreme Court as the justices considered two cases that could reshape the college admissions process.
“It’s no secret that if you were to eliminate race-conscious policies, it would further reduce the number of students of color on campus, particularly women of color in higher education,” Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Act. Center, he said outside court.
A conservative 6-3 majority could overturn court precedents on affirmative action. The two cases, brought by Students for Fair Admissions, challenge the admissions process that considers race as a factor in admitting students at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, alleging that Asian American students were discriminated against in those admissions processes.
The Harvard case argues that Asian American students are less likely to be admitted to Harvard than white, black, or Latino applicants.
The UNC case argues that the university’s consideration of race in the admissions process violates the Constitution and discriminates against white and Asian-American applicants by favoring black, Native American or Latino applicants.
Both universities argued that the use of affirmative action in admissions helped the institutions provide equitable opportunities for black, Latino, and other students of color who may not have the same educational opportunities as their white peers due to systemic racism.
SFFA is backed by Edward Blum, a conservative activist who over the decades has launched dozens of lawsuits against racial laws such as affirmative action and voting rights.
Many speakers outside the court criticized Blum. They focused on unity among communities of color and discussed how race cannot be separated from one’s life story and should be factored into the admissions process.
Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference Education Fund, which organized the event, said it’s important for all communities of color to stand together and support affirmative action.
“We stand together so that each of us, Asian and Black, Latino and white, Native American, disabled, each of us is seen for acceptance as the whole people that we are, as a whole. we’re human because we’re talking about it today,” she said.
Sumi Cho, director of strategic initiatives at the African American Policy Forum, a social justice think tank in New York, said that “affirmative action is not about giving special aid to those harmed by racism, but about removing the obstacles and systemic barriers that lie in their way in way.”
This isn’t the first call for affirmative action in college admissions. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that “[s]Tates may choose to prohibit the consideration of racial preferences in government decisions.
States with bans on race in public admissions include Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington State.
Christina Huang, UNC’s co-leader for affirmative action, challenged the notion that higher education should be color-blind in its admissions process.
“Ignoring race is not being colorblind, it’s putting on rose-colored glasses to wash away the racial discrimination that has prevented and continues to prevent students of color and people of color from equal opportunity,” Huang said.
Chelsea Wang, co-ed policy chair of the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association, said that if the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action, Asian Americans would not benefit but instead be harmed.
“The notion that affirmative action discriminates against Asian applicants is a malicious myth, and its repeal would only harm disadvantaged Asians,” Wang said.
A study by the University of Washington and the left-leaning Brookings Institution think tank found that states that banned affirmative action in their admissions process saw long-term declines in black, Latino and Native American students accepted and enrolled at their public colleges.
Kylan Tatum, co-educational policy chair of the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association, said Asian Americans like him are up in arms, and the group filing the Supreme Court challenge “tried to portray Asian Americans as a monolithic group that is universally disadvantaged.” affirmative action.”
Samaga Pokharel, an 18-year-old student at Harvard University, said she fears for future generations if the court overturns affirmative action.
“If affirmative action doesn’t end up continuing, then it’s going to hurt a lot of people, it’s going to hurt diversity, and I feel like by stopping affirmative action, we’re just going to shut down racism and block racism that can be seen,” she said. .