Illustration by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters; iStock

(CALMATTERS) – In June, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases that could ultimately extend California’s ban on affirmative action to private universities.

As Itzel Luna of CalMatters’ College Journalism Network explains, the state has already prohibited public universities from considering race, sex and ethnicity in admissions and hiring. Until now, private universities have not been subject to the same law

But given the court’s current conservative majority, university leaders and student advocates fear that there will be an outright ban on affirmative action across all campuses.

  • Phong Nguyen, Stanford student and participant of the 22% Campaign, a student-led diversity initiative: “A huge part of what has made my experience at Stanford University so enjoyable are those cultures that I’ve been exposed to.”

Besides an overall drop in diversity among students — particularly those in the science, technology, engineering and math fields — school officials are concerned that a ban will limit their ability to consider applications holistically. And students from underrepresented communities might also be discouraged to apply to private schools fearing they are not welcomed on campus. 

But some students would support the expected court ruling, arguing that affirmative action leads to more “racial divisions.”

  • Seamus Callaghan, Stanford student and president of the Stanford College Republicans: “It does nothing to address the underlying causes of continued racial disparities.”