Sep 19, 2023
Joint Resolution By California Community College Trustees & Administrators Affinity Caucuses Denouncing the SCOTUS Decision on College Admissions
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s recent decisions in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v University of North Carolina undermined more than four decades of precedent that had legally recognized as compelling interest the educational benefits of racially diverse student populations in higher education;
WHEREAS, we, the affinity caucuses, remain committed to supporting historically underrepresented students in transferring to universities that have been under the legal restrictions of Proposition 209 and now the SCOTUS decisions;
WHEREAS, we are deeply concerned that the judicial decisions of such a daunting nature could have damaging repercussions and chilling effects among college trustees and administrators who are managing these new legal restrictions and could cause them to overinterpret out of fear and take actions far beyond the laws’ requirements;
WHEREAS, our caucuses believe that higher education has proven to be the best strategy for the social and economic mobility, including as a promising equalizer for many people of color who have historically faced institutional racism and overt and covert denial of equal opportunity and equitable access to education itself,
WHEREAS, higher education’s interest in promoting a racially diverse student population is exceedingly compelling, as the Supreme Court of the United States had previously outlined the educational benefits that arise from racial diversity: "the destruction of stereotypes, the promotion of cross-racial understanding, the preparation of a student body for an increasingly diverse workforce and society, and the cultivation of a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry";
WHEREAS, in response to the SCOTUS decision, the leadership of the University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges have maintained that their respective institutions are still committed to racial diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as core values, despite operating under the legal restrictions of Proposition 209 for over twenty-five years;
WHEREAS, the State of California witnessed a decline in the racial diversity of student bodies at universities across the state following the passage of Prop. 209 in 1996 that prohibited the use of race as a factor for admission into institutions of higher education, similar to the Supreme Court’s recent rulings striking down race conscious admissions for UNC and Harvard’s admission policies;
WHEREAS, California community colleges with our open access and already richly diverse and talented student population serve as pathways to diversifying the University of California and California State Universities, which was even more so needed after the passage of Prop 209, and California community colleges will need to continue advancing racial diversity and closing racial student success gaps in transfers to diversify the UCs and CSUs in addition to private universities in California and nationally in light of the SCOTUS decisions;
WHEREAS, the African American Community College Trustees and Administrators Association (a.k.a., “the Black Caucus”) agrees wholeheartedly with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson in her dissent that “deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life” – a statement that reflects the lived experience of Black students and families, understands the reality that the decision will harm underrepresented communities, and alludes to the constant, real struggle in educating the nation on the state of race relations in our country.
WHEREAS, the California Association of Latino Community College Trustees and Administrators (CALCCTA), a statewide coalition of Latino/a/x community college leaders and advocates focused on achieving access, equity, and opportunity for historically underrepresented communities, agrees with Justice Sonia Sotomayor in her dissent that, “The majority’s vision of race neutrality will entrench racial segregation in higher education because racial inequality will persist so long as it is ignored” – a statement that affirms the long-standing precedent of affirmative action has benefited Black, Asian Pacific Islander, Native and Latino/a/x students in higher education and that recognizes race-conscience strategies translate to the racial diversification of our colleges and universities nationally, and, hence, the democratization of our society.
WHEREAS, the Asian American Pacific Islander Trustees & Administrators Caucus (AAPITA) believes policies that actively fight racism and correct the historic impacts of xenophobia and racism are necessary for a just and diverse society; particularly in college admissions where education is the greatest equalizer; AAPITA stands with the majority of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in supporting affirmative action and denouncing the SCOTUS decision, as AAPI students will not be used as a politically convenient wedge on issues of racial justice.
WHEREAS, the LGBTQ+ Caucus is a vibrant and diverse community, representing individuals of different sexual orientations, expressions, gender identities, ethnic and racial backgrounds, and intersecting identities, who deserve equal rights and who as a community continue to be marginalized, the LGBTQ+ Caucus in solidarity with our fellow Caucuses, uphold that affirmative action is a necessary and just approach to rectify past and ongoing injustices, by actively promoting equal opportunities, representation, and inclusion for LGBTQ+ individuals and all members of the broader community.
WHEREAS, the California Community Colleges Women's Caucus (CCCWC), which advocates through an intersectionality lens for change and policies that will identify and advance opportunities and achieve equity for students, faculty, staff, and administrators, CCCWC agrees with Justice Sonia Sotomayor in her dissent that “The majority’s vision of race neutrality will entrench racial segregation in higher education because racial inequality will persist so long as it is ignored” - a statement that understands the differential access and student success for Black and Brown students, persistence of racial bias (unconscious or implicit), and need for greater workplace diversity across higher institutions.
WHEREAS, the California Community Colleges Veterans Caucus stands united with our
community college colleagues in their support of educa]ng the country on the state of race
rela]ons; we recognize that servicemembers of color have served the na]on in spite of racial
inequali]es they have faced and con]nue to face; as our country grapples with the pervasive
issues of race and inequity, we support a na]onal dialog that recognizes this to be true and
seeks to educate, enlighten, and inform our ci]zenry.
WHEREAS, California community colleges should and could still promote racial equity and equitable protection through anti-racism work at the structural, cultural, and individual levels in areas such as curriculum, teaching pedagogy and andragogy, student services, remedial education reform, focused outreach, racial data analysis and reporting accountability, equitable financial aid, student basic needs, equity programs such as AB 288 dual enrollment, budgeting, and faculty diversity while still complying with Prop 209 and the SCOTUS decisions.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the caucuses call on trustees and administrators at our 116 community college, 73 college districts, and 78 off-campus centers to advance racial equity for students at the structural, cultural, and individual level, while complying with legal restrictions of Proposition 209 and the SCOTUS decisions, and to commit to increasing the college’s racial equity efforts for the benefit of students while recognizing that community colleges serve as pathways to racially diversifying the universities;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the caucuses encourage the colleges to actively push back against repressive legalism and not overreact and overinterpret the SCOTUS decision to the detriment of students of color and their equitable access and success, and to inform their respective campus community about this possible chilling effect caused by Prop 209 and more recently, the SCOTUS decisions.;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the caucuses encourage colleges, particularly the counseling division, transfer centers, and financial aid department, to learn more about how the universities are making changes to their admissions process so that historically underrepresented students could still have an equitable opportunity to be admitted and how they could express how their racial and ethnic identity in their transfer application as allowed under the recent SCOTUS decisions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the caucuses jointly affirm our commitment to racial diversity and racial equity at our college campuses, and encourage every community college in California to engage with its students and amplify their students’ voices while passing a similar resolution to send a clear message to its students, local communities, and faculty, staff, and administrators of its unyielding commitment to racial equity.