Affirmative action ruling will not affect Oregon State University admissions’ decision making


Katie Livermore, News Reporter

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to ban race-based decisions in college admissions on July 29, Oregon State University officials confirmed the Affirmative Action ruling will have no effect on the admissions process at OSU.

Affirmative Action is a set of procedures to eliminate unlawful discrimination during the admissions process, using solutions against discrimination based on race, creed, color and national origin, according to Cornell University.

“We’re disappointed in the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. . . OSU does not consider an applicant’s race or ethnicity in making admissions decisions,” said Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president of university relations and marketing.

The ruling of the court included practices from Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.

The Supreme Court’s Syllabus for “Students for Fair Admissions” said that Harvard and UNC are highly selective in their admissions process. Harvard, specifically, uses a score in six categories – academic, extracurricular, athletic, personal, school support and overall – in which the overall category includes race to ensure there is no disparity in minority admissions from the previous class. 

The Supreme Court ruled that using Affirmative Action is unconstitutional, based on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects U.S. citizens’ from being denied “equal protection of the laws.”

If OSU did not consider race or ethnicity before the ruling, what did they do instead to expand diversity?

OSU remains resolutely committed to serving those who face systemic barriers to higher education, including students of color, low-income students, first-generation students, students from rural communities, veterans, adult learners and others,” said OSU President Jayathi Murthy in a message to the university.

Instead of using race and ethnicity in college admissions itself, OSU recognizes students from underrepresented communities have obstacles in their pursuit of higher education, and makes an effort to provide admissions opportunities and enrollment access, Clark said. 

According to Clark, OSU has programs like the Educational Opportunity Program and cultural resource centers, and works to assist students from underrepresented communities, first generation students and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

This means helping students access state, federal and university funds. 

“Diversity is represented in additional important ways,” Clark said. “First generation students – I was a first generation student at Oregon State myself – students from urban and rural communities, that represents diversity, students from other states and nations, that’s a form of diversity.”

As of 2023, over 29 percent of OSU students identify as students of color. 

“Being committed to advance inclusive excellence, and success for all students is a part of our mission,” Clark said. “And part of the values that we go to work with every day.

For updates and further information, OSU will post new information in regards to the Supreme Court’s rulings on their university website.

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