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''Strongly disagree'' with US Supreme Court''s decision to end race-based college admissions: President Joe Biden

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Washington DC | June 30, 2023 3:39:01 AM IST
"Strongly disagreeing" with the US Supreme Court decision to strike down race-based admission programs, President Joe Biden said that the court has "effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions."

"The Court has effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions. And I strongly, strongly disagree with the Court''s decision," the US President said on Thursday (US local time).

The US Supreme Court on Thursday struck down race-based admission programs at the University of Harvard and the University of North Carolina, The Washington Post reported.

This comes amid reports of the university''s policies discriminating against White and Asian applicants by giving preference to Black, Hispanic and Native American ones.

In a 6-3 judgement, the apex court gutted affirmative action in college admissions, that use race as a factor.

"The student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual--not on the basis of race," Chief Justice John G Roberts said in the ruling while writing for the majority.

Joe Biden said today''s decision rolls back decades of precedent and momentous progress.

He added that "I''ve always believed that the promise of America is big enough for everyone to succeed and that every generation of Americans, we have benefitted by opening the doors of opportunity just a little bit wider to include those who have been left behind."

The US President said he believes colleges are stronger when they are racially diverse. "Our nation is stronger because we are tapping into the full range of talent in this nation," he said.

"I also believe that while talent, creativity, and hard work are everywhere across this country, not equal opportunity. It is not everywhere across this country," he added.

Biden said: "We cannot let this decision be the last word. I want to emphasize: We cannot let this decision be the last word."

As per the US President, affirmative action is misunderstood.

"Many people wrongly believe that affirmative action allows unqualified students to be admitted ahead of qualified students. This is not how college admissions work. Rather, colleges set out standards for admission, and every student, every student has to meet those standards," he said.

"Then, and only then, after first meeting the qualifications required by the school, do colleges look at other factors in addition to their grades, such as race," he added.

Joe Biden said he has always believed that one of the greatest strengths of America is its diversity. "While the Court can render a decision, it cannot change what America stands for. We need a new path forward, a path consistent with a law that protects diversity and expands opportunity," he said while adding that colleges should not abandon their commitment to ensuring student bodies of diverse backgrounds and experiences that reflect all of America.

The US President said: "What I propose for consideration is a new standard where colleges take into account the adversity a student has overcome when selecting among qualified applicants."

"Let''s be clear: Under this new standard, just as was true under the earlier standard, students first have to be qualified applicants. They need the GPA and test scores to meet the school''s standards."

"Once that test is met, then adversity should be considered, including, including its lack, a student''s lack of financial means, because we know too few students of low-income families, whether in big cities or rural communities, are getting an opportunity to go to college," he said.

Notably, the issue of affirmative action has long been a matter of debate in the US.

As recently as 2016, the court upheld an affirmative action program at the University of Texas, concluding for the third time that educational diversity justifies the consideration of race as one factor in admission decisions.

The ruling has also drawn reactions from the political circles, and contrary from both sides.

Former President and 2024 contender Donald Trump hailed the SC ruling, calling it a "great day" for the nation, adding that it will "keep us competitive with the rest of the world".

"This is a great day for America. People with extraordinary ability and everything else necessary for success, including future greatness for our country, are finally being rewarded. This is the ruling everyone was waiting and hoping for and the result was amazing. It will also keep us competitive with the rest of the world. Our greatest minds must be cherished and that''s what this wonderful day has brought. We''re going back to all merit-based--and that''s the way it should be!" CNN quoted the former President.

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also hailed the court''s ruling, saying that the justices "just ruled that no American should be denied educational opportunities because of race."

Meanwhile, Harvard University said that diversity and difference are essential to academic excellence.

The University in response to the Supreme Court''s decision, said: "We write today to reaffirm the fundamental principle that deep and transformative teaching, learning, and research depend upon a community comprising people of many backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences," the university said in a communication signed by leaders of the institution, including outgoing president Lawrence Bacow."

Harvard said that for almost a decade it has "vigorously defended" its admission policy, which two federal courts ruled complied with longstanding precedent.The nation''s top court, voting along ideological lines, said that programs at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina violated the Constitution''s equal protection clause. (ANI)

 
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