Harvard responds, suggests it will continue to consider race via loophole in SCOTUS decision

Harvard’s statement seemed to heavily imply that it would circumvent the decision using the majority opinion as a loophole

UNC promised to 'respect the Supreme Court’s decision' and 'follow its guidance.'

The higher education institutions at the center of the Supreme Court’s ruling banning race-based affirmative action reacted to the decision.

In statements Thursday, Harvard University and the University of North Carolina reacted to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina. The Supreme Court ruled that both UNC and Harvard’s race-conscious admissions programs violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution.

[RELATED: SCOTUS rules against affirmative action in college admissions]

Harvard’s statement seemed to heavily imply that it would circumvent the decision using the majority opinion as a loophole. “Today, the Supreme Court delivered its decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. The Court held that Harvard College’s admissions system does not comply with the principles of the equal protection clause embodied in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act,” Harvard wrote. “The Court also ruled that colleges and universities may consider in admissions decisions ‘an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.’ We will certainly comply with the Court’s decision.”

Harvard continued:

[RELATED: NYU has a warning for students about possible end to affirmative action– Campus Reform Fellows explain why it’s wrong]

“While not the outcome we hoped for, we respect the Supreme Court’s decision and will follow its guidance,” UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz said in a statement. “Carolina is committed to bringing together talented students with different perspectives and life experiences and to making an affordable, high-quality education accessible to the people of North Carolina and beyond. We are passionately public, and that will always be true… We will build that community with you and work to provide a campus environment where all of our students know they belong and can thrive.”

“I know that this decision may raise questions about our future and how we fulfill our mission and live out our values,” Guskiewicz added. “But Carolina is built for this, and we have been preparing for any outcome. Our leadership team will need time to thoroughly review the details of this outcome and its potential impact before determining specifically how we will comply with this decision. In the coming weeks, we will communicate our plans with the campus community.”

The Department of Education also slammed the Supreme Court decision.“Today’s Supreme Court decision takes our country decades backward, sharply limiting a vital tool that colleges have used to create vibrant, diverse campus communities,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said. “Students of color have long faced inequities in education and college access, and today’s ruling is yet another blow to the fight for equal opportunity. As we consider today’s decision, our commitment to educational opportunity for all Americans is unshaken, and our efforts to promote diversity in higher education are undeterred. The Department of Education is a civil rights agency, committed to equal access and educational opportunity for all students.”

“I want to send a message to all aspiring students, especially Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and other students from underserved communities: we see you and we need you,” he continued. “Do not let this ruling deter you from pursuing your educational potential. Our colleges and our country itself cannot thrive and compete in the 21st century without your talent, ingenuity, perseverance, and ambition.  

“To our higher education leaders reviewing the decision: now is not the time to lessen your commitment to campus communities that reflect the rich diversity of this nation, which enhance the college experience in myriad ways and prepare students from all walks of life to live, work, and lead our democracy together,” he added. “Your leadership and commitment to ensuring our educational institutions reflect the vast and rich diversity of our people are needed now more than ever. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting you in pursuing all lawful practices that meet that goal. We will continue working with you to raise the bar for inclusivity and work intentionally to better support students of color, because the inequities that exist in higher education access and outcomes remain unacceptable.”

Campus Reform reached out to all three institutions for further comment. This article will be updated accordingly.