Reconstructing Undergraduate Admissions after the Death of Affirmative Action
By Jorge Vasquez Suarez
As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning affirmative action in undergraduate college admissions, Ivy Plus colleges look to implement new measures in their admissions process to achieve diversity in their future classes.
Following the court’s announcement of ending race-conscious measures, many Ivy Plus institutions, which includes Ivy League universities and other high-ranking schools, immediately published statements on social media regarding their standpoints on the case’s outcome. A majority of — if not all — institutions upheld their prior convictions regarding the use of race-conscious programs in college admissions.
For example, Princeton University’s president, Christopher Eisgruber, shared to Princeton’s community an email highlighting his disappointment with the outcome and what it means moving forward from this infamous decision in undergraduate admissions.
“This morning’s opinion is unwelcome and disappointing, but it is not unexpected. While today’s decision will make our work more difficult, we will work vigorously to preserve. . . the diversity of our community,” establishing later in the email that it is Princeton’s obligation to“attract exceptional people of every background.”
To reevaluate its undergraduate admissions policies, Princeton’s board of trustees established an ad hoc committee, which will emphasize merit-based admissions, emphasize attracting intelligent, talented students from underrepresented populations, and implement new procedures that will make any information regarding race and ethnicity unavailable to faculty and admissions officers, complying with the supreme court’s decision.
Harvard University, a respondent in one of two Supreme Court cases regarding race-conscious measures, Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, responded to the nervous anticipation surrounding its approach to admissions in the wake of the landmark decision.
Responding with disappointment, Harvard released its statement, signed by its presidents, provosts, and deans, reaffirming their message argued in court.
“We write today to reaffirm the fundamental principle that deep and transformative teaching, learning, and research depend upon a community comprising people of many backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences.”
Though Harvard University neither included in its statement nor published an article detailing how it would reconstruct its admissions process, it is adamant about finding alternatives to the race-conscious measure to achieve diversity, all while complying with the court’s decision.
Though many Ivy Plus institutions share the same convictions regarding diversity in classes, college applicants — especially those from underrepresented groups — are left wondering how these institutions, many of which have left to publish their procedures in the 2023-2024 admissions cycle, will achieve diversity in their classes using alternative measures.
There is nothing college applicants or the public can do other than wait to see the results of this year’s admissions cycle in the spring of 2024, when colleges and universities publish class information like diversity in their common data sets.