June 29, 2023
Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion on race-conscious admissions in the cases of Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Even though many of us anticipated the outcome, facing the reality of the widespread impact of the Court’s ruling is heart-wrenching.
We are a racially diverse country that, as noted by the dissenting Justices Jackson, Sotomayor, and Kagan, has not been colorblind. This is a country with a history of legally sanctioned discrimination based on race, with outcomes that permeate our lives today in the 21st century.
The rulings’ impact on higher education broadly will be debated over the weeks to come, including an analysis of what is permissible for colleges and universities as they seek to create a racially diverse student body. While the rulings acknowledge that race affects the lived experiences of students, they nevertheless limit the ability of colleges and universities to consider race in shaping their campuses. The Court backed away from decades of precedent, and now we have to determine what is next, at a time when our efforts are met with hostility from state legislators and others who seek to diminish the value of diversity and all the educational benefits it brings. There are no easy answers, but each of us has a responsibility to weigh in on what is next.
We at NADOHE are discouraged but not dissuaded from our goals. We have work to do. We have votes to cast. We have students to educate and support. The work to ensure every student in our country has equal and equitable access to a college education continues, even on this dark day in our nation’s history.
The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) is the preeminent voice for chief diversity officers. As the leader of the national conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion, it investigates, influences, and innovates to transform higher education so that inclusive excellence lives at its core.