Thursday, June 29, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after the Supreme Court struck down the use of race in college admissions:

“Education is the great equalizer. Yet, as the first in my family to go to college, I know the struggles facing students whose parents have never been through the process before or don’t have the money for expensive test prep or advisors to help them craft the perfect essay.

“In addition, diversity on campuses enriches the educational experience for all students and can help our nation counter the injustices that flow from ongoing systemic racial discrimination.

“To quote from Justice Sotomayor’s dissent, this decision ‘is not grounded in law or fact and contravenes the vision of equality embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment.’

“Furthermore, the Court has never addressed or limited the college selection processes that favor the children of well-established, predominantly white families including the children of affluent donors and legacy admissions for the children of alumni.

“The last thing we should want is a world in which underrepresented students are given less opportunity while the wealthiest and most privileged students have their own special form of affirmative action.

“Selecting applicants to universities based off family names, connections, or the size of their bank accounts creates an unlevel playing field for students without those built-in advantages, especially minority and first-generation students.

“To counter donor and legacy favoritism, I and Representative Jamaal Bowman will soon reintroduce the Fair College Admissions for Students Act. This Act ensures that money and connections will no longer give an unfair advantage in access to higher education.”

Merkley, along with Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), will soon be reintroducing the Fair College Admissions for Students Act to stop universities across the country from giving preferential treatment to children of alumni and donors and help ensure equity in the admissions process.