Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Syracuse University 'disappointed' in SCOTUS affirmative action ruling, pledges diverse student body

An student draws while sitting on a concrete wall as several students sit on another wall in the background.
Stephen Sartori
Syracuse University
Fall Students sit in SU's Orange Grove near the Quad in this undated photo.

Syracuse University officials called today’s/Thursday’s Supreme Court Decision striking down affirmative action in college admissions “disappointing.” A message signed by Chancellor Kent Syverud, Provost Gretchen Ritter, and admissions and diversity officials outlined a commitment to finding a diverse student body. Ritter says race can no longer be used as a specific factor in selecting students. But Vice President of Student Experiences Allen Groves notes there are ways to consider someone’s background - which could include race.

“An applicant could write an essay articulating, ‘here is something I experienced in my development as a young person and here is why that experience matters relative to me as an applicant.’ It can’t simply be, ‘I am a member of this race and therefore I have experienced certain things’,” Groves said.

University officials in several departments had already been working on ways to change admissions practices in anticipation of the high court’s decision. Provost Ritter explains SU will connect with groups in areas with under-represented populations, and ask alumni to help find talented, diverse applicants. She adds the university must let people know it’s welcoming.

“…enhance our efforts to make clear both to our current students, our alumni, our prospective students, our ongoing commitment to inclusion and diversity, (and) how excited we are about welcoming talented students from all backgrounds.”

University officials say a diverse campus community improves cross-racial understanding … and helps better prepare students to be global citizens. Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Mary Grace Almandrez details how diverse students and faculty have far-reaching benefits.

“We have multiple viewpoints; we have opportunities to engage in exchange of ideas, in testing ideas, in developing new and innovative ways to serve the needs of our community. And so when we think about why it’s important, the exchange of ideas, the opportunity to innovate and to contribute to society is actually very important.”

They say efforts to seek diversity, while following the court decision, are already underway.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.