Statement of Janson Wu, Executive Director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Today’s majority opinion ending the consideration of race as one of many factors for qualified students in college admissions ignores the substantial factual record supporting the lawfulness of Harvard and University of North Carolina’s admissions programs and discounts present and past racial inequities the 14th Amendment to our constitution was intended to address. Equal educational opportunities are fundamental to reducing barriers to economic, leadership, and other life opportunities, to ensuring full participation and a diversity of perspectives in a robust, multi-racial democracy, and to realizing freedom for all.

The benefits that accrue to all students from being able to learn from others of different perspectives and experiences, and to build respect for one another, cannot be overstated. I attended Harvard College as an Asian-American student in the late 1990s. Coming from a predominantly white community in rural upstate New York, the racial diversity of students and backgrounds opened a new world of experiences and relationships that led to greater growth, learning, and discovery.

Today’s decision will make it harder for colleges and universities to provide that same learning environment that benefited me and all students, including Asian-American students – but we cannot and will not turn our backs on that goal.

As Justice Jackson plainly put it in her dissent in the North Carolina case: The only way out of this morass—for all of us—is to stare at racial disparity unblinkingly, and then do what evidence and experts tell us is required to level the playing field and march forward together, collectively striving to achieve true equality for all Americans.

While the Court has spoken as to admissions, it remains true that life experiences, including those related to a person’s race, are matters that can be lifted up by prospective students and sought and considered by educational institutions in line with their missions. We must and will keep working together to ensure every student has the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

Learn more about the case.