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Drake responds to SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action

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Journalists prepare for broadcasting Thursday afternoon after the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas. Credit: Nick Roll | Campus Editor

Journalists prepare for broadcasting Thursday afternoon after the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas. Credit: Nick Roll | Campus Editor

The Supreme Court solidified the use of affirmative action in the University of Texas’s admission process on Thursday, prompting praise from Ohio State University President Michael Drake.

For four decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that diversity is a vital part of the higher education experience and a legitimate pursuit for colleges and universities,” Drake said in a statement.

The case, prompting its second ruling from the Supreme Court, centered around white student Abigail Fisher, who sued after being denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin based on her race. The university guarantees admission to those in the top of their class before opening up to general enrollment — which considers race, among other factors — for other applicants. Fisher was not in the top of her class.

While the 4-3 ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas on the university’s use of race-conscious admissions standards wasn’t a blanket endorsement of all affirmative action programs, it was seen as a victory by many higher education administrators.

“In our university labs and classrooms, diversity sparks innovation, strengthens cultural understanding, amplifies creative work, broadens scholarly benefits to society and produces more competent workers and thinkers,” Drake’s statement read.

OSU’s minority enrollment for 2015 stood at 18.6 percent, a record high, according to the most recent enrollment report.

For fall 2015, UT Austin’s minority and foreign enrollment stood at 55 percent, according to school data.

While the ruling asserts the validity of affirmative action, Justice Anthony Kennedy acknowledged its complexities and its future in his ruling.

“The Court’s affirmance of the University’s admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the University may rely on that same policy without refinement,” Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “It is the University’s ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admissions policies.”

While Brooklyn McDaniels, a third-year in communication and president of OSU’s Black Student Association, agreed with the ruling, she said that at OSU she’s learned diversity goes further than race.

“Within BSA we have diversity in majors, hometowns, interests,” McDaniels said, “Diversity is so much more than what people think.”

While she said she felt positively about how OSU handles diversity, McDaniels acknowledge what she saw as shortcomings, too.

Although BSA has diversity within itself, “it ends there,” she said, “There’s no mixing between clubs. Certain clubs have diversity, but it doesn’t extend beyond there.”

Like Kennedy, McDaniels offered insight into the complexity of diversity on the modern-day college campus.

“You see (the mixing) at football games or Buckeyethon,” McDaniels gave as an example, “but not in the day-to-day stuff.”

2 comments

  1. Diversity is important for the University, however, these admission policies do nothing to resolve any racial divides or end discrimination in this Country. In fact, it makes it worse. When equally qualified students (of any background) are turned down for less qualified students, the University is planting the seeds of contempt, which leads to racism and hatred. To truly escape this cycle we must all expect and demand an equal playing field. If you want to be equal then act equal, play by equal rules, and stop expecting special treatment.

  2. “OSU’s minority enrollment for 2015 stood at 18.6 percent, a record high, according to the most recent enrollment report.
    For fall 2015, UT Austin’s minority and foreign enrollment stood at 55 percent, according to school data.”

    But UT Austin isn’t diverse enough? And they guarantee enrollment for top-of-class students before considering other reasons to reject, but they were sued over rejecting someone who wasn’t in the top of their class?

    “Within BSA we have diversity in majors, hometowns, interests,” McDaniels said, “Diversity is so much more than what people think.”

    Is this implying that other races don’t have diversity in any aspect? They all come from the same hometown, have the same majors and interests?

    “Although BSA has diversity within itself, “it ends there,” she said, “There’s no mixing between clubs. Certain clubs have diversity, but it doesn’t extend beyond there.””

    So maybe before we make it a rule to bring in more diverse groups of students – even though the cost may be a lower quality of students, we might want to work on actually bringing together the students that are currently on campus instead of creating even larger cliques that divide the campus further.

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