) The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that colleges and universities cant use race as a factor in their admissions process, a decision that will require higher education to find new ways to diversify student bodies.
Colleges and universities in Oregon and Washington spoke out soon after the Supreme Court issued its ruling on affirmative action. Some said theyre disappointed in the decision. Others said they dont expect a major impact to admissions.
Portland State University said affirmative action has been a powerful tool in admissions to provide access to underrepresented populations.
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While Portland State does not employ race-based admission decisions, we serve more racially diverse students than any other public university in Oregon. PSU is committed to dismantling systems of racial oppression and is taking intentional action what we believe to be essential and affirmative action to work toward a society in which students who have been historically disadvantaged and discriminated against can thrive, PSU wrote in a statement.
Oregon State University President Jayathi Murthy issued a statement in response to the decision and said in the days and weeks ahead, OSU will be working to understand what direct impact, if any, the rulings may have on the university.
Even with this ruling, let me make clear: OSU will continue to admit every qualified Oregon student who applies. This is a foundational part of the universitys commitment to access, inclusivity and excellence. We also will continue to increase the diversity of the universitys student body by admitting talented and promising students from across the nation and world, Murthy wrote.
She said OSU does not consider an applicants race or ethnicity in making admission decisions, but the university values the importance of a diverse student body.
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Washington State University, which has a campus in Vancouver, reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to ensuring higher education is accessible and affordable in light of the Supreme Court decision.
Like other universities, WSUs President Kirk Schultz said the university will assemble a team to assess the schools policies and programs that could be impacted by the decision. Schultz said WSU will abide by the decision, but will continue to address the systemic discrimination and biases that hinder students of color.
Seeking and serving a diverse student body and building an inclusive campus community improves the education experience of all students, Schultz wrote.
Robin Holmes Sullivan, president of Lewis & Clark College in South Portland, sent a letter Thursday morning to students, staff and faculty in response to the Supreme Court rulings.
In it, she reaffirmed the colleges commitment to fostering and supporting a diverse and inclusive community.
Interacting with people from all kinds of different backgrounds is an important aspect of students preparation to live, work, and lead in an increasingly diverse society, she said.
Lewis & Clark College will review the Supreme Courts decision and said it will comply with federal laws and guidelines.
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The colleges media relations team told KOIN 6 News it does not expect a major impact on its admissions practices since Lewis & Clark College takes a holistic approach focused on proactively recruiting students who have a broad range of life experiences.
The college said this will continue to be its approach.
KOIN 6 News also reached out to the University of Portland, Reed College, Linfield University, the University of Oregon and Clark College to see if their admissions processes will change due to this decision. We will add their responses as we receive them.
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Oregon, Washington universities react to Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling