U.S. Supreme Court rules against affirmative action in college admissions

The U.S. Supreme Court’s historical decision invalidates affirmative action programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. Florida’s pre-existing ban could lessen the impact in the state.


Sofia De La Espriella, News Editor

On Thursday, the Supreme Court delivered a 6-3 opinion, invalidating admission affirmative action programs utilized by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. This decision puts an end to a longstanding practice that allowed schools to employ these programs to promote diversity within their institutions. 

The Supreme Court ruled that both programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and are therefore unlawful, setting a historic precedent in the way both public and private universities conduct their admissions process nationwide.

Unlike other states, the decision might have less of an impact on Florida, according to a review by the Washington Post.

Florida is among nine states that already prohibit the use of race as a preference in college admissions, dating back to an executive order issued by Governor Jeb Bush in 1999. 

University spokesperson Lisa Metcalf emailed the UP a statement from the Florida Board of Governors that alleged the Supreme Court ruling won’t have any impact on the State University System of Florida.

“Florida has not utilized affirmative action in our higher education system since the One Florida Initiative in 1999. The State University System of Florida provides students equality of opportunity through color-blind admissions,” the statement reads.

FIU Student Body President, Alexander Sutton worries that the ruling might limit how admissions take student’s backgrounds into consideration returning to a homogeneous student body where a groupthink can take over.

“As one of the largest Hispanic-Serving and Minority-Serving Institutions in America, we greatly worry about the impacts of this Supreme Court decision,” he said. 

The Washington Post’s 30-year review of race and ethnicity data details potential detrimental effects a federal ban on affirmative action could have on minority students nationwide.

According to the review, Hispanic and Native Americans were among the least represented ethnic groups enrolled at universities in the eight states that banned affirmative action.

Based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the review shows that the University of Florida witnessed a decrease in Black student enrollment in the 20 years following the initial ban. 

Notably, the data suggests that if affirmative action is banned in private schools, it could significantly alter the racial and ethnic diversity of American schools.

On the other hand, the FAU Diversity Data report shows that the percentage of Black and Hispanic students has increased in the past five years. Up to the 2022 Fall semester the percentage of Black students was 19.5% and Hispanic 27.4%.

The university also ranked second from Florida in Campus Diversity, making it the second most racially, culturally and ethnically diverse school in the State University System. 

“Florida also has one of the most diverse systems in the country. [Florida] is proof that diversity can be achieved without affirmative action,” the Florida Board of governors statement concluded after the Supreme Court ruling.

Sofia De La Espriella is the News Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or message her on Instagram @sofidelaespriella.