Supreme Court Raises The Bar For Affirmative Action In College Admissions

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The Supreme Court is raising the bar for affirmative action in college admissions. In a vote of 7 to 1, the court has sent an affirmative action case about the University of Texas’ admissions policy back to the lower courts to review.

Some legal experts are criticizing the Supreme Court saying they’re dodging a major decision
on whether affirmative-action policies at public colleges around the country are unconstitutional.

The case was brought by Abigail Fisher, a white student who sued the University of Texas in 2008 after her college application was rejected. She claimed she was being treated differently than less-qualified minority students who were accepted. Today, the Supreme Court allowed affirmative action to survive in the admissions process but made it harder for colleges to use such polices to achieve diversity. Regardless of the decision, SUNYIT says diversity will plays a big role in their admission process.

“No matter what their background, where they were born, what they look like, it’s important to us that diversity across the campus is represented,” says Jennifer Ninh, SUNYIT Director of Admissions.

SUNYIT says there goal is to bring diversity to the classroom and the admissions director says diversity is much more than race or ethnicity.

“There’s no doubt there’s more males in certain fields that are STEM related; science, technology, math, then females and that to us means there’s an opportunity for diversity; to bring more women into the fields so those programs and the career is more diverse,” says Ninh.

Ninh says it’s a similar stance with Nursing; admissions are always looking to bring more males into the female-dominated field.

Still, the Supreme Court’s decision focuses on certain groups benefitting based on race-conscious admissions policies and community members say that’s not right.

“I think it should be equal for everybody,” says Brennan Pimpinella, Utica resident.

“Because we’re all Americans here, doesn’t matter what color you are, or what race your are,” says Suzette Plete, Remsen resident.

“I didn’t get any state aid when I went to college, I didn’t get any scholarships, I didn’t get anything. I feel if I was Black or Latino, I would have gotten help,” says Pimpinella.

The Supreme Court has sent the case back down to a lower court for a rehearing.

The Supreme Court still has three major rulings to make in this term. One is a challenge to a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and two are about gay rights: challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks federal recognition of gay marriages, and Proposition 8, a California ban on gay marriage.

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