Today’s Supreme Court decision striking down affirmative action in college admissions is very disappointing, but it is not surprising. As I wrote last month, in anticipation of this day, I was a signatory from among LACRELA (Liberal Arts College Equity Leadership Alliance) presidents in an open letter voicing our opposition to this ruling and outlining strategies to improve access for all students to our institutions. You can read more about those strategies here.
For decades no student has been denied or granted admission to Susquehanna based upon their race. This is true at the majority of colleges and universities in the U.S. We do many things to recruit a talented and diverse student population to our campus. That diversity enhances the learning opportunities for all our students, and it prepares them to be better leaders in the evermore diverse communities they will call home after graduation.
At Susquehanna University, our mission is to educate students for productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership, and service in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world. A diverse student body is integral to that mission. As LACRELA’s open letter states, holistic review of applicants is critical to recruiting a well-rounded class — from racial and ethnic diversity, to gender and geographic representation, to socioeconomic diversity. We strive to create a culture on our campuses that mirrors the world our graduates are entering.
We know that the single most powerful thing a person can do to improve their economic position is to get a college degree. In order for colleges and universities to fulfill our promise of economic and social mobility, we must continue rectifying the systemic barriers that have kept so many talented students of color out of higher education. This is what we are called to do.
Although today’s Supreme Court ruling is disheartening, Susquehanna will continue the important work of expanding access to the transformative experience of a college education and ensuring that students from minoritized populations feel they belong here and thrive.