June 29, 2023
Media Contact: Sumeet Bal, Director of Communications, 917.647.1952

Public Advocates Denounces SCOTUS Decision Undermining Race-Conscious College Admissions Policies

San Francisco—Public Advocates strongly denounces the Supreme Court’s decision to undermine race-conscious college admissions policies in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of N. Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having spent more than 50 years working to advance racial justice and opportunity in education, we regret the Court’s disingenuous decision to upend more than four decades of legal precedent and drastically narrow proven and vital policies for expanding college access to underrepresented students, specifically Black and Latinx students. As a society we have a moral, economic and democratic imperative to ensure that everyone—especially those who have been historically marginalized—has an equal chance at pursuing their college dreams, no exceptions or exclusions. Studies reflect that undermining race-conscious admission policies decreases racial and ethnic diversity in our higher education institutions. While California has invested millions in recruitment efforts after a ballot measure, Prop 209, banned the use of affirmative action 25 years ago, race-neutral UC admissions have never been able to achieve the same level of diversity as before.

As a civil rights law firm, Public Advocates has leveraged the power of our legal system to secure and uphold equal rights for students, workers, and marginalized Black and Brown communities, including expanding access to an equitable education. While we are deeply disheartened at the moment, we stand in solidarity with our many partners who have led the fight to restore and protect affirmative action. Our resolve remains strong to advance a multi-racial democracy through policies that advance educational opportunity and close racial equity gaps, to combat any chilling effects from this misguided decision, and to support students of color to continue to pursue their college dreams. This decision also underscores the fundamental obligation of each state to establish equitable, high quality educational opportunities for all students, from birth through high school, so that they can access higher education on a level playing field.


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