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Monday, June 17, 2024

Recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in college admissions: a heartbreak

Ardain Isma

CSMS Magazine

In a highly anticipated decision, the US Supreme Court, in a ruling issued this month, upheld the use of affirmative action in college admissions, but with certain limitations. The court recognized the compelling interest of educational institutions in promoting diversity and acknowledged that race could be considered as one factor among many in the admissions process. However, the court also emphasized that affirmative action should be narrowly tailored and subjected to strict scrutiny.

The Court’s decision outlined key principles that educational institutions must follow when implementing affirmative action policies. Firstly, they must demonstrate that race-neutral alternatives have been thoroughly explored but are insufficient to achieve diversity. Secondly, institutions should avoid using quotas or point systems that unduly favor certain racial or ethnic groups. Lastly, periodic reevaluation and ongoing efforts to refine affirmative action policies are necessary to ensure their continued necessity and effectiveness.

Repercussions and Worth of the decision

The Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action in college admissions had significant implications for both educational institutions and applicants. On one hand, it reaffirmed the value of diversity in the educational environment and recognized the right of colleges and universities to consider race as a factor in their admissions process. This decision provided institutions with guidance on how to design affirmative action policies that would withstand legal challenges.

However, the decision-imposed limits on the use of affirmative action, emphasizing the need for individualized consideration of applicants and the avoidance of undue preferences based solely on race or ethnicity. This ruling aimed to strike a delicate balance between promoting diversity and ensuring fairness in the admissions process. Unsurprisingly, the ruling elicits a barrage of criticisms and indignation because it is widely recognized that minority students will bear the brunt of its consequences.

Note: Ardain Isma is chief editor of CSMS Magazine. He is a scholar, essayist, and novelist. He is the author of several critically-acclaimed books, including Midnight at Noon and Bittersweet Memories of Last Spring.

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