Anna Haskins recalls the precise moment in June when she heard about the Supreme Court ruling that effectively ended affirmative action for college admissions.
“Did I expect it? Yes. But I was still surprised and crestfallen,” says Haskins, the Andrew V. Tackes Associate Professor of Sociology and associate director of Notre Dame’s Initiative on Race and Resilience. The decision means colleges and universities cannot factor applicants’ race into admission decisions and leaves institutions to look for new ways to achieve racial diversity in their student bodies — or to abandon diversity as an ideal.
“I was not expecting them to do anything different,” Haskins said of the court. “And yet I was hopeful. I truly was hopeful, because I think we still need it.”
Haskins said that a Supreme Court ruling earlier in June — which reaffirmed the section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that concerns redistricting and protections for the voting rights of minority groups — had given her hope the court might uphold affirmative action.
Despite her disappointment, Haskins says the rulings open an opportunity for universities to demonstrate what is important to them. “We will see over the next two to five to 10 years, I hope, some deep thinking about the direction universities want their student bodies and themselves to go. It really is a turning point for institutions,” she says.
Originally published by Notre Dame Magazine at magazine.nd.edu in its Autumn 2023 issue.