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Leahy Issues Statement Critiquing the Supreme Court’s Decision on Affirmative Action

University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., released a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down race-based affirmative action in college admissions this morning, calling the ruling a “frustrating departure” from decades of judicial precedent.

“Consideration of race in admission decisions has enabled higher education institutions like Boston College to identify, enroll, and graduate talented students from diverse racial groups,” Leahy said in the release. 

Affirmative action is the practice of implementing strategies and policies—like considering race as a factor in admission or hiring decisions—so universities and companies can create more diverse environments. 

The court’s majority argued college admissions should be decided based on individual experience and not race, and it ruled that affirmative action violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

In his statement, Leahy emphasized how important the AHANA (African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American) population is to the BC community. 

“Boston College has greatly benefitted from a student body of varied backgrounds, which has enriched intellectual discourse and social life on our campus,” the statement reads. 

Leahy said the court’s decision will not only significantly impact the BC community, but it will also cause difficulties for university admissions across the country.

“The new legal landscape will pose significant challenges in student recruitment and enrollment for all colleges and universities,” he said.

According to the statement, BC has admitted its most diverse group class yet, with 39 percent of the Class of 2026 identifying as AHANA and 11 percent being the first in their family to attend college.

Despite this ruling, Leahy said BC will continue to promote diversity on campus through programs such as QuestBridge—a national nonprofit program that helps “high-need students” earn scholarships.

Additionally, BC plans to allocate $166 million to need-based financial aid for the 2023–24 school year, according to the release. The University will also provide academic support through the Pine Manor Institute (PMI) for Student Success, a program that coordinates outreach and academic support programs for underrepresented, low-income students, and Messina College, a two-year residential college under the PMI opening in 2024.

Leahy emphasized that in the face of this decision, BC will not change its values or goals and will continue to strive to enroll a diverse student body.

“While the law has changed, the values and goals of Boston College have not,” Leahy said. “The University remains committed to the transformative power of education and to enrolling a student body that reflects American society, in accordance with the law.”

June 29, 2023