How affirmative action ruling will impact the college admissions process

Published: Jun. 29, 2023 at 10:35 PM CDT
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(KTTC) – When it comes to how the Supreme Court made its latest ruling on affirmative action, University of Minnesota law professor Jill Hasday says look no further than past acts of racial discrimination.

“The key legal move is to say the same rigorous scrutiny should apply to affirmative action that takes race into account that would apply to Jim Crow segregation,” Hasday said.

As for how this would impact admissions in Minnesota and Iowa, Hasday says the ruling would have little impact on community colleges, though she says it would impact universities, both private and public, that receive federal funding.

She says, however, that colleges could find other ways in which they can identify the race and ethnicity of applicants, one method being through essay questions that ask potential students about personal struggles. Applicants could tie their answers back to their background.

“I agree there may be enforceability problems,” Hasday said. “These essays could be a workaround.”

Hasday says every school plans to comply, but based on examples from other states where affirmative action has already been rolled back, she says she’s concerned diversity would decrease on college campuses.

“If policies did not make a difference, why would you have them?” Hasday said. “I think most observers are expecting a decrease in racial diversity in selective universities.”