How the Supreme Court Can Terminate Affirmative Action Yet Fails to Alter the Course of History

**The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision on Affirmative Action in College Admissions**

**The Discomfort Felt by Students**

The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to end the use of affirmative action in college admissions has had a significant impact on campuses across America. At Pace University, where nearly half of the undergraduate students identify as students of color and one in six are the first in their family to attend college, the decision has created a sense of unease. A Pew survey revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans under 30 hold an unfavorable view of the Supreme Court, indicating the discomfort felt by the younger generation.

**A Personal Blow and Disappointment for the Author**

The decision is not just a blow to the students; it is a personal disappointment for the author as well. The author, who had previously served as vice president and general counsel at the University of Michigan, played a role in defending the admissions policies that led to the landmark decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. This decision upheld the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions policies and recognized student body diversity as a compelling state interest for the first time.

**Finding a Path Forward**

Despite the disappointment and sadness surrounding the decision, the author believes there is a path forward for the causes of equality and respect in society. The author highlights the importance of recognizing that major policy issues are constantly evolving. The precedent overturned by the recent decision had been in place since the Bakke decision in 1978. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor had expressed hope in her 2003 Grutter opinion that affirmative action would no longer be necessary in 25 years if trends continued.

**The Importance of Diversity in Society**

The landmark Grutter decision fundamentally changed the conversation around diversity in higher education. It argued that achieving a diverse student body not only benefits the affected students but also benefits society as a whole. This viewpoint has become commonplace today, with major institutions recognizing the importance of diversity in remaining competitive, effective, and legitimate. Employers, the military, and colleges and universities will continue to prioritize diversity.

**Seeing the Ruling as an Opportunity for Innovation and Action**

Rather than despairing over the new ruling, those who believe in progress and equality should see it as a catalyst for innovation and action. As the country becomes more diverse, it is crucial to focus on the public K-12 system and ensure that it produces highly qualified graduates. Businesses have a key role to play in building connections with colleges, universities, and primary and secondary schools to help produce college-ready students. Collaboration between institutions and bold experimentation can lead to new ways of achieving diversity goals.

**The Strength of Diversity**

Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, history supports the belief that diversity is America’s great strength. The current moment presents an opportunity to renew the promise of diversity and work towards a more inclusive society where all excellent students have a chance to attend the college of their dreams and thrive in their careers.

**About the Author**

Marvin Krislov is the president of Pace University in New York. He previously served as vice president and general counsel of the University of Michigan from 1998 to 2007.

(Note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Fortune.)

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