Statement of United Way of Massachusetts Bay on U.S. Supreme Court College Admissions Ruling

June 30, 2023

We are deeply disappointed in the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court ending affirmative action on college admissions. To ignore race when considering college acceptance perpetuates the biased position held in our society that historically marginalized populations have the same privilege and opportunities to overcome challenges and build skills as white populations. At the same time, the preservation of legacy admissions protects a form of affirmative action for white and often privileged applicants.

There are already deep racial inequities in our region in access to quality early education, achievement in public education and access to safe and stable housing. These inequities exacerbate barriers to opportunity for black and brown students. To dismiss race as a factor when considering holistic student achievement dismisses the disproportionate challenges these students face. The ramifications of this ruling have the real potential to further increase the number of young adults who are neither working nor in school, which is already a high percentage of youth.

Education is a driver of so many life outcomes, including financial wellbeing and health, and in turn impacts the distribution of power and equity in our communities. As Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote in the dissent, “No one benefits from ignorance…deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.” Today we reaffirm our commitment to dismantling systemic inequities so that we can ensure opportunity is accessible to all.