Edwin Escalet, founder
Editorial to Presbyterian College Leadership Council- a partners prospective
Once again the Supreme Court has spoken to the issue of the use of race in college admissions decisions. The hotly debated topic has occupied a significant amount of attention, discussion and legal challenges for several decades and during that time the pendulum has swung in both directions. From Bakke (1977) to Grutter (2003) to Fisher (2013) the issue has been debated and held the attention of Colleges and Universities for almost 40 years. The recent Supreme Court ruling to uphold the consideration of race in college admissions decisions will hopefully put this particular issue to rest for the foreseeable future. While I have followed this topic since the very beginning and would like to highlight two very important principles that we can take away from the vast number of oral and written arguments and opinions that have been made issued from the bench.
The first is the affirmation that there exists a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body. As Justice Powell emphasized that “ ‘nation’s future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure’ to the ideas and mores of students as diverse as this Nation.”
The second is this issue of deference that a college or university has in identifying ,creating, and shaping the educational experience and environment that it articulates and wishes to foster. The decision to pursue the educational benefits that flow from having a diverse student body in an academic judgment to which some judicial deference is proper.
So ask yourself:
*What type of institution do we want to be?
*What type of educational and personal experiences do we want our graduates to have?
*How can we prepare our students to better understand and best compete in complex, increasingly diverse and forever changing world?
Student body diversity is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity and one of the pillars of an enriching college experience. Exposure to diversity benefits everyone. How does your institution stack up?