Point and SUSCC not impacted by recent SCOTUS ruling

Published 9:30 am Saturday, July 1, 2023

In a 6-3 vote, the United States Supreme Court ruled that college admissions cannot take race into account, consequently striking down the precedent on affirmative action established by Grutter vs. Bollinger in 20 years ago.

Some colleges will be impacted more heavily than others depending on their state. However, Southern Union State Community College said its admissions will be safe from the opinion.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action will have no impact on student admissions at Southern Union or any of Alabama’s 24 community and technical colleges,” said Southern Union State Community College in an email to the VTN. “Our colleges are open admission, which gives us the opportunity to educate and train every Alabamian who chooses our colleges as part of their educational path.”

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The court’s opinion claims not to be expressly overturning precedent and that colleges may take into consideration students’ life experiences if they are addressed in college application essays.

However, the ruling upends a long-standing precedent that has helped many Black and Latino students gain access to higher education.

“That could make it harder for some folks, especially folks who come from historically disenfranchised communities, in other words, black folks, Hispanic/Latino folks,” said Jacob Channel, a senior economist and student debt policy expert at Lending Tree. “It might make it a little bit more difficult for them to get accepted.”

The legacy admission is still in effect for Ivy League schools, which left-leaning justices have criticized as a form of affirmative action for those from privileged families.

However, Channel said the ruling is no reason to give up hope and that many colleges and universities will likely still be happy to accept students with good grades.

For many universities, the diverse community of students is an important part of their campus culture.

“Point welcomes applications from all students, and the recent Supreme Court decision does not affect our admission practices,” said Point University Interim Vice President of Advancement and Associate Professor of Communication Sarah Huxford in an email. “We celebrate the rich diversity of our campus community, which includes 45% students of color.”

Point University created a Diversity Task Force, whose job is to uphold diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.

“It still sort of remains to be seen how exactly colleges will retool their admissions process in the wake of no longer being able to use affirmative action-based criteria that they may have used in the past,” Channel said. “And who knows? Perhaps, we could see a different kind of version of this that doesn’t look at race, but maybe it looks at something like income or something that is also designed to help more disenfranchised people get a foot in the door at universities.”