National Fair Housing Reacts to Supreme Court Affirmative Action Ruling

Special to The Truth

Supreme Court Ruling Against Affirmative Action in College Admissions at
Harvard and University of North Carolina Undermines Efforts to Create
Diverse Student Bodies to Benefit the Nation

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Harvard and
UNC’s affirmative action plans violate the 14th Amendment’s Equal
Protection Clause. While the Court seemingly left existing precedent
untouched, its decision calls into question the use of affirmative action
in future college admissions. Nikitra Bailey, Executive Vice President of
the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), issued the following statement
condemning the Court for not outright upholding educational equity.

“Despite the course of nearly 50 years of precedent where race could be a
factor in college admissions, the U.S. Supreme Court interjected new
hurdles for students of color who have overcome structural barriers in
pursuit of higher education. Today’s rulings place additional burdens on
Black, Latino, API, Native American, and other students of color to prove
how systemic discrimination affects them and how their histories can
benefit an institution of higher learning. The Court’s decision is likely
to result in denying all students the ability to benefit from diverse
student bodies that enhance educational experiences.

“Our K-12 school systems, like our neighborhoods, remain extremely
segregated despite the rich and broad diversity in the United States. All
students should have access to high-opportunity schools, but where you live
impacts your child’s ability to attend a well-resourced school with
expanded learning opportunities. Throughout the nation, school systems
spend $26 billion more in predominately White school districts than they do
in school districts that are predominately Black, Latino, API, and Native
American, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the racial education gap.
Affirmative action made higher education a viable pathway for students from
intentionally disadvantaged communities expanding their future
opportunities regardless of what zip code they grew up in. That pathway now
has more hurdles to be jumped.

“In addition to attempting to level the playing field of past
discriminatory educational policies, affirmative action also sought to
increase diversity on campuses to benefit all students. In fact, 79 percent
of Americans believe that diversity contributes to a better education for
all students, which in turn benefits our nation.

“Today’s ruling is disappointing as it turns the 14th Amendment on its
head, but we must continue fighting to advance racial justice. We know that
so called ‘race-neutral’ options are not the solution to centuries of
race-conscious discrimination, and the 14th Amendment permits
race-conscious remedies. Today, in fact, the Court stated nothing precludes
the consideration of race in admissions as long as it is narrowly tailored
to survive judicial scrutiny. We will continue partnering with other civil
rights organizations to uplift communities of color and ensure that
opportunities in education are open to all.”

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only
national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all
forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal
opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair
housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the
U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to
equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities._