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  • Writer's pictureBill Wong

AAPI Leaders & Groups Denounce US Supreme Court Affirmative Action Ruling

The United States Supreme Court on Thursday handed a huge victory to conservative activists by striking down affirmative action programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Specifically, the 6-2 (Harvard- Justice Brown-Jackson recused) and 6-3 (UNC) votes resulted in a court ruling that programs at these universities violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The response from the leaders and organizations representing the AAPI community was swift and defiant.

The AAPI Equity Alliance issued this statement in response:

"AAPI Equity Alliance strongly condemns the U.S. Supreme Court’s regressive decision to invalidate affirmative action, a long-standing effort to promote equal opportunities for students of color in higher education, at Harvard University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is infuriating and deeply troubling to witness the overturn of race-conscious admissions, as it effectively ignores the undeniable history of institutionalized racism and discrimination in our country's schools and universities. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in her dissent, 'What was true in the 1860s, and again in 1954, is true today. Equality requires acknowledgement of inequality.'

Holistic admission standards historically benefit all students, despite the false rhetoric that affirmative action negatively impacts Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) college applicants. According to the Asian American Voter Survey, over two-thirds (69%) of Asian Americans support affirmative action. We refuse to stand idly by while our community is used as a prop by the conservative movement to advance a white supremacist agenda. Our AAPI communities, especially Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders, who already face significant disparities in education attainment, will bear the brunt of this decision.

It is important to recognize that today’s ruling is limited to race-conscious admissions, not other important measures such as the continuation of promoting and embracing diversity, outreach to communities of color, expanding financial assistance, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. AAPI Equity Alliance calls upon policymakers, educators, colleges and universities to support affirmative action and join us in championing efforts that ensure racial equity in higher education. Until every student, regardless of their background or ethnicity, can access and thrive in higher education, AAPI Equity Alliance will continue to advocate for accessible higher education to foster a more just and inclusive society."

Rep. Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus posted this statement on Twitter:

Jenn Fang, Founder of the Reappropriate Blog posted this message on Twitter:

UCLA Professor Renee Tajima-Pena posted this comment:

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris issued this statement:

"Today’s Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina is a step backward for our nation. It rolls back long-established precedent and will make it more difficult for students from underrepresented backgrounds to have access to opportunities that will help them fulfill their full potential.

It is well established that all students benefit when classrooms and campuses reflect the incredible diversity of our Nation. Colleges and universities provide opportunities for students to interact with Americans from all walks of life and learn from one another. By making our schools less diverse, this ruling will harm the educational experience for all students.

Our Nation’s colleges and universities educate and train the next generation of American leaders. Students who sit in classrooms today will be the leaders of our government, military, private sector, and academic institutions tomorrow. Today’s decision will impact our country for decades to come.

In the wake of this decision, we must work with ever more urgency to make sure that all of our young people have an opportunity to thrive. "

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