What does the recent Supreme Court ruling mean for women?
Last week was historic for education and the global economy. The definition of affirmative action (AA) was extended by the Supreme Court of the United States. AA applies to many under-represented student populations including women who have less than equal representation in MBA programs.
The main message sent last week by the media on the decision by SCOTUS was to uphold the use of race in admissions at the University of Texas-Austin. Please understand that the ruling was much more involved than just being able to use race as a consideration in decisions on admissions. Below are three important takeaways on the most recent constitutional ruling by the Supreme Court.
SUMMARY OF SCOTUS DECISION TO EXPAND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
1- The court decided that affirmative action guarantees 14th Amendment rights and includes equal protection of the laws. Abigail Fisher (the plaintiff) was a white female and, in effect, claimed UT Austin exercised reverse discrimination in denying her admission. Therefore ‘equal protection’ includes gender, race and orientation.
2- SCOTUS sent a message to make sure your admission policies are not only fair, but consistent. A student you can’t be accepted because of one policy and then denied by another.
3 – Related to this is the value of simplifying admissions’ polices. UT Austin’s admission policies were seen as overly complicated and too interventionist.
Their version of AA, included a Top Ten Percent Plan, an Academic Index and a Personal Achievement Index. This caused their admissions’ policies to be very complex; made them susceptible to misinterpretation and invited public scrutiny; and, ultimately, created conflicts among students and admissions who they were meant to protect.