CA Points Way Forward After Supreme Court Guts Affirmative Action

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
Stanford University, a leading private college in California, says it will continue to pursue all legally permissible means to ensure a diverse student body. Photo Credit: Marelbu / Wikimedia Commons

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has declared affirmative action in college admissions unconstitutional, private colleges in California will have to find other ways to support diversity on campus.

Public universities in the Golden State had to change their strategy back after voters banned race-conscious admissions – passing Prop 209 in 1996.

Mamie Voight, president and CEO of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, said schools should recruit heavily from high schools in low-income communities of color.

“We call on leaders to actively recruit community college transfer students and students seeking to resume their studies after an extended pause,” said Voight, “because nearly 50% of community college students are students of color.”

The University of California and California State University system stopped using standardized test scores such as the SAT and ACT last year – because studies show they had little predictive value on how a student would fare in college, and demonstrably favored wealthier applicants with access to tutors and prep courses.

J. Luke Wood, Ph.D – the incoming president at Sacramento State University – called the decision the “epitome of race-lighting,” when gaslighting turns racial.

“We’re being fed messages that say one thing, that are really meant to distort our realities,” said Wood. “What was said by the court is that we are protecting people against racism. However, what is really said by the court is, ‘We will not tolerate providing opportunities for people of color.'”

Advocates also call on schools to promote equity by eliminating legacy admissions and beefing up financial aid to low-income students.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.