The Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action and College Admissions: Reflections and Action Steps from Rafael del Castillo, Rainier Scholars Executive Director

Although the Supreme Court’s decision to end systemic consideration of race in the college admissions process was expected by many, my level of disbelief and sense of betrayal was palpable. Since then, I have become more determined to use my platform to expand our reach and shine a light on the many levels of inequities our scholars face.

The mission of Rainier Scholars focuses on serving scholars and families of color who are farthest from opportunity. We are cultivating the academic and leadership potential of some of the most dedicated and talented young people in the nation. These students are now even farther from opportunity. The recent ruling on Affirmative Action and using race in college admissions presumes that opportunity is equally distributed, and people just need to work hard to get through the gate. Yet, the success of Rainier Scholars and our continued relevance are direct counterpoints to the concept of equality in the education system.

The Supreme Court’s decision underscores the importance of our mission, the urgency to serve more scholars, and the need to be even bolder in advocating for our scholars and all underrepresented youth in colleges and universities.

Rainier Scholars is committed to expanding support to underrepresented students of color. With each scholar, we move closer to our vision of “a just and inclusive society with equitable representation of people of color at all levels of leadership and influence.” In direct opposition to the Court’s ruling, we will redouble our efforts to ensure that more underrepresented students of color have the opportunity to attend the college of their choice because we know the value of diversity in higher education. We will join likeminded voices who seek to disrupt racist education systems to counteract their negative impacts on students and their families. To do this, we must own our power as a leading voice for equity in education.

With our scholars and families, we will provide essential information and supportive strategies on evolving admissions policies and practices. We know the headwinds are strong, but so are we! We are more determined than ever to empower our scholars with academic enrichment and educational opportunities. As we navigate these changes and as schools continue to explore ways to make their admissions processes holistic, we pledge to seek as many alternative pathways for our scholars as possible.

Now, I encourage you to get informed and then get involved. Below are some resources to help untangle the complexities of college admissions and how the fall out further complicates college access for underrepresented students.

Thank you for your continued support of our scholars.

For more information and insight: