Some Northeast Wisconsin colleges say affirmative action ruling won’t change anything | WLUK
GREEN BAY (WLUK) — The Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action means some colleges and universities will have to think of other ways to create diverse student bodies. Some Northeast Wisconsin schools, however, won’t have to change a thing.
At UW-Green Bay, enrollment of minority students is at more than 18% — up nearly two percentage points from a year ago.
St. Norbert College says about 15% of its 1,900 students are minorities.
Both higher education institutions tell FOX 11 they’ve never had affirmative action plans in place for admissions.
“We’re an open access institution, which means if a student wants to learn at UW-Green Bay, we work with them to make sure they learn,” explained UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander. “So, our goal is not to exclude people; our goal is to include people.”
So, moving forward, in wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, the schools don’t anticipate any changes.
“Regional universities, regional comprehensive universities play a really important role in local economies and local regions,” explained Alexander. “And that’s why it’s so important to us that we’re a university that is so welcoming to our region and to make sure that we’re moving forward with policies that are inclusive to everybody.”
But just because local colleges and universities don’t anticipate the Supreme Court ruling will impact their admissions process, doesn’t mean the region won’t feel the effects.
“I mean, we are going all the way back to the 195’s,” said Alphonso Simpson, a sociology professor and UW-Oshkosh’s director of African American Studies.
Simpson says the Supreme Court’s decision is a major step back.
“I would say that we all need to brace ourselves because this is going to affect everyone, not just one targeted group of people, not just one kind of people,” said Simpson. “This is going to affect American education, and this is just the beginning.”
Simpson says the impact on education is about much more than just reading, writing and arithmetic.
And he anticipates, moving forward, this decision will impact the workforce and the economy — and not in a positive way.
“This is something that I do believe is detrimental to our society as a whole,” said Simpson.
State Rep. David Murphy, R-56th District, doesn’t see the decision as a detriment.
In a statement he said:
I am pleased with the Court’s decision today. Republicans have always believed in merit. People shouldn’t be pigeonholed into categories based only on the color of their skin. They should be recognized as unique individuals. Each student has talents and abilities of their own. Our country is based on equal opportunity, and this decision helps treat college applicants with equality. No student should enter the college admission process at a disadvantage. Asian students and others have been discriminated against, and their hard work and merit have been overlooked. There will be claims that some poor and disadvantaged students will be harmed, but that is a problem we need to fix at the K-12 level, not at the university level. Today we are voting for a state budget with an historic increase in K-12 funding. We also passed legislation to improve reading. These actions will help all kids compete.
Lawrence University officials also put out a statement about the decision, saying:
Lawrence University affirms the value of inclusive community. We are proud to welcome students, faculty and staff from a plurality of backgrounds and identities. We believe strongly that diversity affirms educational experiences and outcomes for all students, and we will continue to promote belonging for all.