The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning affirmative action in college admissions is a heartbreaking step backward, not just for Black students who aspire to fulfill their potential, but for society as a whole. The ruling prohibits the use of race as a factor in admissions at public and private universities, much like California Proposition 209 did in 1996.
USC President Carol Folt expressed it in a statement posted online: “USC has long understood that excellence and diversity are inextricably intertwined.” We are grateful that President Folt sees the value and importance of opening doors for students of different backgrounds.
President Folt continued: “This decision will not impact our commitment to creating a campus that is welcoming, diverse, and inclusive to talented individuals from every background. We will not go backward.” (Read President Folt’s complete message.)
The USC Black Alumni Association is committed to making sure USC moves forward. We will continue to serve as a key university partner to support our current Black students and to raise much-needed scholarship funds so more Black students are able to afford to attend USC.
Fortunately, we are seeing some promising signs of growth. Of the students granted admission to USC’s incoming Class of 2027, a record-setting 13 percent are Black, up from 8.6 percent in 2020. Last academic year, Black students made up 5.8 percent of USC’s student body.
We can all do more. I recently attended a webinar hosted by Shaun Harper, the founder and director of the USC Race and Equity Center, in which he outlined legally allowable ways to sustain racial equity initiatives on college campuses in this post-affirmative action era. He stressed that we must work together to address mindsets that undermine student and faculty diversity, while emphasizing the positive impact of creating more equitable communities.
The USC Black Alumni Association has been engaged in this challenging work throughout its 47-year history and we’re not stopping now. This decision is disappointing, but we are strong and resilient, and, yes, we will….
Jasmine Taylor ’99
USC Black Alumni Association