King John and the Knights of the Ivy League Round Table
With the latest news surrounding the United States Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action, many people have taken to the streets to protest the recent legislation. Affirmative action is essentially a set of policies aimed at addressing historical disadvantages and promoting equal opportunities for underrepresented groups through proactive measures such as preferential hiring or admission practices. On the 29th of June, United States Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., along with the entire Supreme Court, ruled against taking race into consideration. Both Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC) have been found in violation of the Equal Protection Clause (EPC), as they failed to provide parameters to justify their use of race in the admissions process.
Long benefitting minorities in the United States, Roberts (being a Harvard alum himself) wrote court's official opinion. He states that the country "failed" to deliver the clause's "core commitments". Despite being a turning point in the battle for equality, various groups have disagreed. The loss of affirmative action makes it harder for larger universities to receive government funding, albeit institutions such as Harvard and UNC don't suffer much of a blow, this sets a precedent for further issues to come.
In the United States alone, Ivy league institutions are notorious for their legacy admission policies, with Harvard being sued regarding such cases just two days ago. The term "legacy admission" describes the practice of giving applicants with family ties to graduates preferential treatment when applying to colleges. While some contend that it promotes a sense of tradition and loyalty, others object on the grounds that it reinforces privilege and inequality by favouring those who are already advantaged.
The Supreme Court has a choice on its hands, as well as US Universities. One thing is certain: the admissions process will have long-lasting changes.