The Supreme Court ruled to strike down affirmative action, or race-based admissions practices on college campuses, but Harvard has a way around the decision.
The court ruled 6-3 that the admissions committees at two schools – Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – used discriminatory practices against Asian and white applicants.
“Both programs lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today.”
Democrats responded quickly, decrying the decision as harmful to minority communities.
President Joe Biden issued his own statement after the ruling.
“I believe our colleges are stronger when they are racially diverse,” he said. “I also believe that while talent, creativity, and hard work are everywhere across this country, not equal opportunity. It is not everywhere across this country.”
He also tapped in to progressive activist language, touching on “socioeconomic advantages”.
“Today for too many schools the only people who benefit from the system are the wealthy and the well connected,” Biden said. “The odds have been stacked against working people for much too long. We need a higher education system that works for everyone.”
Harvard Finds a Loophole
Harvard’s leadership responded to the decision with its own statement that “diversity and difference are essential to academic excellence” and that they would “preserve” these essential values through a mechanism alluded to by the court.
“The Court also ruled that colleges and universities may consider in admissions decisions ‘an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.’ We will certainly comply with the Court’s decision,” the statement read.
Harvard appears to be saying the will identify race for admissions purposes by asking students how race impacted their life through essays and other parts of the application process.