Virginia universities, colleges react to SCOTUS affirmative action ruling

With the decision, universities and colleges cannot consider race in admissions

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Universities and colleges across the Commonwealth are reviewing their admissions process after the United States Supreme Court struck down affirmative action.

Now institutions will no longer be able to consider race in the admissions process. The court ruled that both programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and are therefore unlawful.

While Virginia colleges and universities overlook their processes, some are already saying the decision doesn’t change much of what they already do.

Aaron Basko is the Vice-President of Enrollment, Marketing, and Communications at the University of Lynchburg, and says it’s more of a symbolic change.

[Divided Supreme Court outlaws affirmative action in college admissions, says race can’t be used]

“We really are a place where people find they are welcomed and their diverse viewpoints are welcomed. Those students come to us somewhat naturally. It doesn’t mean really using our admissions process as a way to make that happen,” Basko said.

Basko says universities and colleges that are more highly selective in their admissions process are going to have the toughest time. Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were the two institutions that brought their cases to the supreme court.

“Some institutions struggle with this because they are so super selective. They’re taking 5% of their students and they have to figure out okay we need a certain number of spaces for this kind of student and we need a certain number for this kind,” Basko said.

10 News received statements from other colleges and universities on their reaction to the decision.

Virginia Tech referenced their motto, Ut Prosim, in their statement looking to the future.

Washington and Lee University said the university’s “commitment to diversity, which is rooted in our mission, remains unchanged following today’s Supreme Court decision. Having a student body that represents a wide variety of perspectives and life experiences makes our institution a better place, and better prepares our graduates to lead lives of consequence in a diverse world.”

Both the University of Virginia and Roanoke College had letters from their presidents.

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and Provost Ian Baucom released a joint statement, saying, “we are still evaluating the opinion to determine how it may affect our current admissions approach and what changes we may need to make as a result.”

UVA’s Ryan and Baucom also said they’d continue to do everything within their legal authority to bring in future classes who are diverse and to make every student feel welcome and included.

Roanoke College’s President Frank Shushok Jr. also expressed his focus on making Maroons feel included, and referenced the college’s culture.

“Our culture at Roanoke reflects the ‘rooted and open’ calling at the heart of Lutheran higher education, which calls for our ‘appreciation and cultivation of diversity in its many forms’ and reminds us to ’welcome all and learn from all,’” Shushok said, in part.

Shushok continued on to say, like UVA’s Ryan and Baucom, that Roanoke College is still committed to “advancing access, diversity, inclusion, and belonging.”

To read more about the Supreme Court’s ruling, click here.

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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