A growing number of Pennsylvania-based institutions are voicing their support for affirmative action in colleges and universities.
Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Albright College in Reading, Cabrini University in Philadelphia and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have recently signed an agreement that affirms their commitment to the policy.
Affirmative action allows colleges and universities to consider race in admissions among other factors. Pennsylvania is one of 41 states currently permitting such practices.
The institutions have now aligned themselves with the University of Pennsylvania, which is one of 15 universities nationwide to have submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court urging the preservation of the policy.
Almost all of the Ivy League universities have expressed their desire to consider race in admissions in a bid to maintain diversity on campus.
The amicus brief highlights several benefits of affirmative action, including the promotion of a robust spirit of free inquiry and dialogue, challenging students’ assumptions and preparing graduates to address the complex issues of the modern world.
Among those institutions in Pennsylvania that have opted to not support the policy include Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Duquesne University and Slippery Rock.
Meanwhile, Penn State University has stated that it will only consider race when determining student placement on campus.
Last October, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two key cases challenging the use of race in college admissions filed by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a non-profit organization founded by vocal affirmative action opponent Edward Blum.
The first case is against Harvard University, with SFFA alleging that the institution discriminates against Asian American applicants by using a subjective standard to gauge traits like likability, courage and kindness. SFFA also alleges that Harvard has a quota for Asian American applicants.
The second case is against the University of North Carolina, in which SFFA accuses the university of discriminating against white and Asian American applicants by giving preference to Black, Hispanic, and Native American applicants.
According to observers, the Supreme Court, which sits at a 6-3 conservative-liberal majority, could be ready to overrule some or all affirmative action precedents and deem the programs unlawful when it delivers its ruling in June.