In a 6-3 decision Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court brought an end to affirmative action in college admissions.
The opinion, delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, states that universities have “concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin.”
According to Reuters, affirmative action refers to intentional efforts by college admissions to increase enrollment of minority students. Not every university uses race as a consideration of admissions, but those that do include it along with a number of other factors such as test scores, extracurriculars and more as part of a holistic approach.
While the Supreme Court case dealt directly with applications at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, the decision will apply broadly across the country.
Miami University’s policy library states that “Miami believes that the diversity of the student body enhances the quality of the education students receive.” For admissions, “diversity may include socioeconomic factors, under-enrolled minority group membership, career interest, artistic ability, geographical background, and other special characteristics of the population.”
The university’s admissions policy doesn’t explicitly mention affirmative action, but its policies on employment state “The University is committed to equal opportunity, affirmative action, and eliminating discrimination and harassment.” The Supreme Court decision does not directly deal with hiring practices.
Black residents make up 13% of the Ohio population and 10% of the Butler County population according to census data. In 2020, 3.2% of Miami’s Oxford student population and 4.3% of students overall were Black.
Other minority students at Miami excluding international students made up 11.9% of the student body, compared to 10.3% of the state population and 13.7% of the county population.
In an email sent to the Miami community Thursday signed by President Greg Crawford, Provost Liz Mullenix and Vice-President for Enrollment Management and Student Success Brent Shock, the university said it remains committed to cultivating diversity of thought and creating an inclusive environment.
“In anticipation of this ruling, we have planned to carefully analyze its potential impact on our community,” the email read. “Miami University remains committed to inclusive excellence, and to recruiting a student body that is well-rounded, talented, and diverse across beliefs, lived experiences, culture, and race.”
Miami’s Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity declined to comment. Representatives in admissions, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion did not immediately respond to requests for comment.