The Presidents of both the University of Akron and Kent State University issued statements in response to the US Supreme Court's decision today striking down affirmative action in college admissions, by a 6-3 vote with conservative justices in the majority.
The court overtuned long-standing precedent, by saying that colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration as a specific basis for granting admission.
In a letter to Students, Faculty, and Staff, Kent State University President, Todd Diacon wrote:
"The country has been awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on two cases that would decide the fate of affirmative action in higher education and, as we expected, the court struck down affirmative action as we have known it.
The lawsuits – Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina – challenged the use of race-conscious admissions practices by colleges and universities.
Kent State monitored the cases, and we have begun to assess the impact of the court’s ruling. As I noted in a recent communication to you, we are about ready to establish an online information site that will share analyses of the impacts of this Supreme Court ruling, the coming final version of Ohio’s state budget, which includes much of the higher education-affecting Senate Bill 83 language, and then any upcoming state and federal legislation or court decisions that will focus on higher education as we move through the 2024 election cycle.
Our commitment to providing access to the opportunities of a students-first education at Kent State is unwavering. Further, we will draw from lessons learned in our own unique history to lead with our values within a divided world. With kindness and respect, we will continue to encourage and support a diverse student body across all our campuses.
Just last week, a team from three different public universities was visiting our Kent Campus to assess some of our enrollment practices and made the unsolicited observation that our university truly creates a sense of belonging for our students and all members of our community. Related to this, we recently conducted a market study on our students-first positioning and, among its many findings, prospective undergrads, and their families alike, placed their highest values on Kent State’s diversity, evident in many forms, as our university’s greatest attribute.
One thing is clear: This Supreme Court outcome will not affect our deep commitment to access and completion for all Kent State students.
We will continue our discussion and learning together, as we move through the summer, preparing for our coming academic year. "
At the University of Akron, officials issued a response prepared prior to the decision, along with a letter from President Gary Miller, today.
The statement prepared before the decision is as follows:
"Changes to Affirmative Action will not change the University’s admission processes. The University of Akron will continue to abide by a holistic process (or whole student approach) when considering students for admission. We review each applicant based on several factors including cumulative grade point average (GPA), strength of high school coursework, grade trends and other factors. In essence - we admit students who demonstrate their potential to be successful at our university and do not measure success using a racial metric in that assessment."
President Gary MIller wrote this letter to the UA Community:
"In light of the Supreme Court Decision today regarding race-based admissions, I want to strongly reaffirm to our community that, as it has in the past, The University of Akron will continue to work with great energy, within the law, to provide opportunities for faculty, staff and students having the broadest array of backgrounds and experiences. We are committed to this goal because diversity in its broadest form is integral to the core of higher education."
*This story was updated to include comments from the University of Akron, and its President, Gary MIller.