LULAC ANALYSIS UPDATE: SUPREME COURT DECISION ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS A HISTORIC SETBACK TO CIVIL RIGHTS PROGRESS
(The following is an updated version of a LULAC statement issued July 3, 2023. LULAC thanks Dr. Angela Valenzuela, Co-Chair of the LULAC Higher Education Taskforce, for further clarifying the implications of the Supreme Court's decision.)
Nation's Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Says the Ruling Is Counter to America's Constitutional Guarantees of Equality
July 6, 2023
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Washington, D.C. - In a closely watched decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action programs, setting a dangerous and discriminatory precedent that could have far-reaching implications. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation's oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization, expresses deep disappointment in the Court's ruling, which undermines the constitutional guarantees of equality.
"The Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action is a historic civil rights setback," stated LULAC President Domingo Garcia. "This decision will make it significantly more difficult for minorities, particularly low-income, first-generation Latino and DREAMER students, to enter higher education institutions. This injury is compounded in states like Florida and Texas that have also dismantled diversity, equity, and inclusion offices and initiatives.”
Garcia continues, "We must take action and ensure that access to higher education is not just for the privileged few. As a civil rights community, we must pressure our higher education institutions to prioritize outreach, recruitment, and enrollment efforts, increase the diversity of their faculty, and continue with test-optional admissions. Race-neutral policy like Texas’ Top Ten Percent Plan must further be defended and considered in other states.”
The impact of this decision cannot be overstated. The ruling strips away a vital tool universities and higher education institutions have used since 1978 to promote diversity and equal opportunities. By recognizing that race plays a role in a student's ability to compete on the same level as their white colleagues, affirmative action aimed to address the subliminal or direct effects of segregation in life circumstances and education.
"Institutionalizing the rule of colorblindness and race neutrality in a segregated society is hypocritical, and doubly so considering the court's decision to exempt the U.S. military in this regard," President Garcia emphasized. "Racial inequality is a deeply entrenched reality throughout the United States. This ruling is yet another attack on minorities by excluding and re-segregating them, while consolidating power and privilege in the hands of a white population whose numbers are declining."
LULAC's position is that while the specific challenges to using race in admissions were brought against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the repercussions of this decision are far-reaching and powerfully symbolic by devaluing diversity at a time when we are poised as a nation to be a multiracial, multiethnic democracy. Further, LULAC warns that removing race as a factor for consideration in college admissions will incur immediate individual and societal harm, thwarting the modicum of progress we have achieved in representing Hispanic and Black students in our nation's best universities.