SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – The Supreme Court held a hearing today regarding the abolishment of affirmative action in higher education. The litigant cited Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, two institutions accused of racial discrimination during their admission processes. Although the lower courts ruled no wrongdoing, the Supreme Court entered deliberations about abolishing affirmative action as a whole.
Although Syracuse University isn’t one of the two institutions in front of the Supreme Court, the court’s decision will have ripple effects on universities all throughout the country.
“Syracuse is a private university, like Harvard, so [Syracuse will be affected] to the extent that [they] accept any money for programs, which Harvard does, which is one of the reasons they are in litigation right now,” said SU professor Shelvia Dancy. “To the extent that Syracuse or any private schools accept any federal money, this could have implications on them.”
The implications include banning any race-based factor in the college admittance process. Affirmative action and prior precedent allows for race to be a factor in student acceptance, just not the determining or dominant factor, but that could fade away if the court rules against affirmative action.
“This opinion could give renewed guidance, because we have had guidance from some 2013 and 2016 decisions,” said Dancy. “But to the extent that people want this court, because now we have a new composition, they want this court to weigh in on the issue. Well now we finally have this court, this particular group of people, we’ll know what they think about this. So that can be a guiding light for any university that’s struggling with this issue.”
The new composition is a conservative super majority with six of the nine justices representing conservative viewpoints. One of which is banning affirmative action’s racial involvement in higher education.
So, rumblings around the court predict that affirmative action will be no longer because of the conservative majority, and statistics back them up. Back in June, the Supreme Court sided conservatively with over 60% of its decisions, the most in a term since 1931. If affirmative action is wiped out, it could have an adverse effect on diversity, and not just among Harvard and North Carolina students.
The ripple effect can expand to all institutions of higher education, including Syracuse University, which SU students are afraid of.
“For someone like me from a different country, it gives me a perspective to be more comfortable, so I’m not intimidated by the American population that could usually be in non-diverse college,” said Ritik Dhame, a Syracuse University master’s student.
It pertains to Dhame, who came to Syracuse from India, but also affects those from the United States.
“Everyone needs to figure out different perspectives, that’s why we’re here at a university, it’s why we learn,” said Kenneth Barrist, a Syracuse University senior.
Whatever is decided in the upcoming days is critical to every college admissions process in the country, and for those at Syracuse University, keeping tabs on the ruling could mean a shift in diversity on campus for good.