STATEMENT: Supreme Court strikes down race-conscious admissions programs

Today, the Supreme Court issued two rulings that struck down universities’ ability to consider race in college admissions. These rulings are a major step backward in our effort to overcome the country’s shameful legacy of racism and persistent racial inequality. It represents the culmination of a decades-long campaign to roll back any consideration of racial inequity and segregation to achieve vital diversity across our economy and society. As Justice Sotomayor argued in her dissenting opinion, the court is cementing “a superficial rule of colorblindness” in an “endemically segregated society.”

Nominally, this is a ruling about education.  But it also represents a much deeper effort to impede efforts to build a society where everyone has a truly fair chance, irrespective of their starting point, and where everyone can thus feel that they belong.  The campaign to end affirmative action draws on the zero-sum playbook of dividing people. Instead, we should support the laws, people, and institutions “equipping our increasingly diverse society to turn toward one another rather than against each other.”

Every child who wants to go to college should have the opportunity, no matter the color of their skin, who their parents are, or where they grew up. We’ve seen that when colleges create opportunities and reflect the vibrant diversity of our society, students across every race, ethnicity, and income step into them – whether it’s astronomy, engineering, medicine, teaching, or the arts.

We are grateful that our colleague Andrew Brennen was an integral part of bringing these cases to the highest court, telling his personal story to make the case for race-conscious admissions policies. The justices should have listened to Andrew.

These rulings only strengthen our resolve to use our resources to achieve a more just society. We will continue to drive towards the vision that our Belonging team has so lyrically set out for us all: To belong is to feel equal despite being different, connected in relationships, and respected no matter how hard things get.