Rhode Island colleges, universities react to Supreme Court affirmative action decision

This is a photo of Brown University. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Supreme Court handed down a decision Thursday declaring that race can no longer be used as a factor in college admissions.

Colleges and universities in Rhode Island reacted to the news as institutes of higher education must now find new ways to diversify their student bodies.

At Brown University, President Christina Paxson said she was deeply disappointed at the decision and added that the university was still committed to sustaining diversity on campus.

“As we analyze the decision, I want to underscore that Brown is and will remain firmly committed to advancing the diversity and inclusion that is central to achieving the highest standards of academic excellence and preparing our students to grow and lead in a complex world,” she said.

In Kingston, the University of Rhode Island said it didn’t consider race as a factor for admission already, but that it’s still committed to diversity and inclusion.

“The court’s decision notwithstanding, the University of Rhode Island is committed to fostering an inclusive, people-centered culture,” said Dave Lavallee, a spokesperson for the university. “URI is and will continue to be an institution that values and advances diversity, equity, and inclusion; celebrates the uniqueness of its members; and cultivates a sense of community where all members find themselves included and their work valued.”

Community College of Rhode Island President Meghan Hughes released a statement, saying the college is dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive environment.

“Our steadfast commitment to affirmative action is integral to advancing equitable opportunities and ensuring that every member of our community has equitable access to education and resources,” she said. “This commitment remains unwavering regardless of today’s Supreme Court decision.”

Over at Roger Williams University, President Ioannis Miaoulis said the school’s mission remains to foster a diverse student body and faculty.

“Social justice is in RWU’s DNA,” he said. “It is embedded in our undergraduate general education curriculum with specific [diversity, equity, and inclusion] learning outcomes, and in the justice-driven work of our students and faculty through community-engaged projects, research, advocacy and legal practice, across our undergraduate majors, graduate programs, School of Law, and University College.”

At Rhode Island College, President Jack Warner said that the school is analyzing the decision to see how it impacts current policies.

“We believe that the most effective way to eliminate those disparities is through the intentional application of resources and policies in the direction of equity and inclusive excellence,” he said. “This decision by the Supreme Court makes that challenge more difficult.”

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