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As affirmative action is struck down, KY schools say they remain committed to diversity | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

The Supreme Court ended affirmative action in college admissions Thursday, saying race can no longer be a factor when deciding to admit a student.

The conservative majority of the Supreme Court overturned the use of race in admissions in two cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.

Chief Justice John Roberts said that for too long universities have “concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.” However, Roberts added that college applicants are still allowed to discuss how race affected their lives through the application process.

In states that previously ended affirmative action, studies have found fewer minority students enrolling. In California, Proposition 209 was passed in 1996, ending race-based admissions. As a result, the admission of underrepresented and minority groups at all University of California campuses declined, a study from the university found. Those in favor of keeping affirmative action have warned that similar effects could now be felt across the country.

In Kentucky, the two largest public universities said they will continue to be committed to and focused on the diversity of their communities.

The University of Kentucky, the largest university in the state, boasted increasing numbers of diverse students enrolled last year.

“We will continue to review this decision as we prepare to fully comply with the law as described in today’s rulings,” UK President Eli Capilouto said in a statement. “At the same time, we will remain focused on our priority as an institution — to be a community of care, compassion and belonging for everyone, regardless of who they are and regardless of how someone defines their humanity and identity. That is the right thing to do for our university. This is a special place — made even more special because we are filled with people committed to being an inclusive and welcoming community.”

Enrollment numbers from the 2022-23 school year at UK showed a 7% increase of students of color and underrepresented minorities over the previous school year. More than 16% of the UK student body were underrepresented minorities or students of color. Nearly 25% of the freshmen class were first-generation students, and 18% were students of color.

Speaking about the diversity of UK students, Capilouto said the university is “equipping them with the tools they need to compete in a complex, global economy amid a very diverse country and world.”

“Our work in the classroom — and all that we are doing in every facet of our mission — is undergirded and strengthened by a commitment to being welcoming and inclusive, defined in the broadest possible terms as we seek to educate, accept, heal and serve the broadest range of people possible,” Capilouto said.

The University of Louisville said it “will continue to be committed to diversity among our students, faculty and staff.”

“Celebrating our differences and learning from one another only makes our university and our society stronger,” the university said in a statement. “Through legally permissible means, we will continue to foster and sustain an environment of inclusiveness that empowers all to achieve their highest potential.”

At UofL, Black students made up 13.7% of the student population in the fall 2022 semester, and other minorities made up 17.6% of the student population, according to the university’s website.

Kentucky politicians react

Two Kentucky politicians praised the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday.

“The Supreme Court’s decisions on college admissions are a long-overdue step toward ensuring equal protection under the law,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “For decades, the Court turned a blind eye as higher education prioritized illegal social engineering over merit. Today’s rulings make clear that colleges may not continue discriminating against bright and ambitious students based on the color of their skin.”

“The Supreme Court was exactly right to hold that ‘eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,’” Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Daniel Cameron said in a statement. “Universities are not somehow exempt from this core American value. Today’s decision is a huge step toward a more perfect union.”

This story may be updated.


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