Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action decision’s impact on local colleges

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(ABC 6 News) – In a 6-3 ruling Thursday, the United States Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions. The high court called Affirmative Action unconstitutional.

The decision will make a great impact on institutions such as Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, but for local schools such as Augsburg University and Luther College, the decision will not have that much impact.

“So the decision today is basically saying that race can no longer be used as a part of the process for admissions and Augsburg was not already using race in the admissions process,” said Robert Gould, Vice President of Strategic Enrollment at Augsburg University.

The two schools have a foot note in Rochester, Augsburg a small campus attached to Bethel Lutheran Church, and Luther, a study away semester for their nursing program.

From 1982 to 1990, now Justice Clarence Thomas was the chair of the equal opportunity employment commission and said in 1988 that any form of affirmative action is, “a narcotic of dependency.”

Thomas, had benefit from affirmative action when he was enrolled into Yale Law School in 1971.

Affirmative Action began in higher education back in 1969 at Harvard and has been used to help increase a diverse student body. But it has not been the only method colleges use to bring in students.

A wholistic approach that takes in many different aspects of students from academic performance, community service and letters of recommendation; are methods that Augsburg and Luther take into consideration with enrollment.

“It really does not impact the way we take in the wholistic review process seriously here,” said Karen Hunt, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Luther College. “If anything what will be the outcome of this is taking the time to really document the process so that it is clear that we don’t consider race or ethnicity in our decisions.”

“Augsburg had a lot of things in place already so I think we were already operating in a way that did not use race as apart of the admissions process,” said Gould.

The court’s decision will only make small changes for these universities.

“We’re really looking at factors that are not tied to the specific case, but at the same time we are very committed to bringing in a diverse student body. We do have about 22 percent of our student body that is from more diverse backgrounds both internationally and domestically. And we’re committed to that as a part,” said Hunt.

The Minnesota State College system will also be lightly impacted by this decision as their 26 colleges and seven universities will see little changes in their enrollment process due to the Court’s decision.