The Supreme Court is now reconsidering the factor of race for admissions into colleges. Most universities and colleges use race to make sure they maintain their diversity. The Supreme Court is asking that this no longer be a factor. The question is: How could a decision like this affect our very own students and campus here at UC Merced?
Last December, the Obama administration pushed for colleges to find different ways to boost their diversity - such as by looking at “socioeconomic profiles” and demographics of students. Affirmative action has always been a touchy subject in the political world, but was brought back into the spotlight when a group of Republican students at UC Berkeley had an “affirmative action bake sale” last September, wherein items were priced by the race of the persons buying them. For example, whites were charged more than blacks, to prove the point that it is unfair to give one race advantage over another.
In an interview with NPR, Marvin Krislov, the president of Oberlin College in Ohio, commented on affirmative action, "We are very worried that an adverse decision could impair the ability to enroll a diverse student body, and I suspect that that would be felt at other selective colleges and universities."
UC Merced itself is known for the diversity of its campus and for being home to many first-generation college students. It is also the UC campus with the highest percentages of minorities, such as Hispanic and African-American students, in attendance. This Supreme Court decision could limit the diversity of this campus. Without the race of students being a factor in admissions, this puts a hold on the diversity that this campus seeks out so strongly. Other factors will take the place of race - which could definitely contribute to lesser campus variety in ethnicity.
Diversity in a campus like UC Merced helps students as a whole feel more comfortable. Walking into a class of students from all different backgrounds, and of all different colors, helps students feel more relaxed, and even help them relate to one another. Taking the factor of race away from college admissions would really have large effects on campus unity. Often, when students at UCM are asked why they like the campus, one of the main reasons is its diversity. This is something that can even be seen amongst the sports teams, clubs, fraternities, and sororities.
But on the other hand, some students feel like race should not be a factor at all. Sophomore Kendall Wright commented, “I feel like it shouldn’t be listed until after acceptance. Admissions are a subjective process because humans conduct it. Issues like poverty and affirmative action have to be dealt with but not as a direct factor.”
There are many students across the country that would agree with that statement as well. Students feel that race shouldn’t matter when it comes to them getting into a college, regardless of whether it contributes to diversity or not.
The decision for now is in the air, with no date for it to be finalized. The Supreme Court is taking affirmative action case by case, but no final decision is to be made in the near future.