Reaffirming Affirmative Action

On October 31, 2022, the Supreme Court gathered to discuss two court cases that have the potential to alter the course of American education forever. The court is supposed to make a decision this summer, and it is one that will affect everyone, including the University Prep community. 

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an organization that advocates for students who claim to have been rejected by universities due to their race, sued both Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. SFFA argues that affirmative action is unconstitutional and requests that the Supreme Court override previous legislation that condones colleges considering race while reviewing college applications. 

Affirmative action is necessary and important because it ensures diversity in higher education. This not only gives minorities equal access to education but increases an institution’s quality by diversifying the perspectives represented at the school. 

A study conducted by the Century Foundation revealed that diversity benefits students by increasing cognitive abilities and critical thinking skills, simulating navigation of real-world environments and promoting creativity.

Proponents of eliminating affirmative action may have good intentions of creating a “level playing field” and evaluating applications only based on merit, but in reality, it would have harmful impacts. If an admissions office were to look at applications without knowing an applicant’s race, admissions officers would be assuming everyone faced the same systemic challenges to get where they are today, which is not true. 

According to Ryan Hannon, Director of Enrollment Management, UPrep takes race into account when evaluating applications to the upper school. While there have been conversations about the Supreme Court case at the National Association of Independent Schools, the organization is not sure how the outcome could affect private schools like UPrep. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, we should maintain our affirmative action policy. 

As a predominantly white community, we have a responsibility to seek diversity for the previously mentioned benefits and the betterment of our community, and affirmative action is the perfect way to accomplish just that.