Response to SCOTUS Decisions this Week
Posted on June 30, 2023
There have been three major Supreme Court decisions this week with profound impacts on higher ed, our community, and our country. Below are the two responses I shared with the SNHU community this week:
It has once again been a day of disappointing rulings from the Supreme Court. Today, we saw yet another ruling that limits the rights of so many in our community and in our country. In the ruling on 303 Creative v. Elenis, the court gave permission for businesses to discriminate against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. While many in our community are once again feeling dispirited and discouraged, we are still not defeated. We, at SNHU, stand with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and will continue to foster an environment of inclusivity and support. As was shared in a message earlier this month, SNHU unequivocally stands alongside the 2SLGBTQIA+ members of our community and we are continuing to work on the efforts outlined in that message.
We also saw the court strike down the administration’s student loan forgiveness plan, which will restart payments for millions of people across the country. At SNHU, our mission is to create affordable and accessible pathways for students to earn their degrees without taking on large amounts of debt. Even before the SCOTUS decision today, SNHU had a dedicated team that helps students prepare for loan repayment and we will work to ensure our students are informed and supported during this transition to repayments.
These decisions are disheartening, but for the communities most impacted by them—racial minorities, 2SLGBTQIA+, and those with limited financial resources – the impacts are profound. We all need to build up our allyship muscles in the days and months ahead.
Affirmative Action response:
Today, the Supreme Court struck down Harvard and UNC’s affirmative action programs, reversing decades of precedent and progress, and ultimately restricting the ability for colleges and universities to address historical racial inequalities that persist in higher education and our country. As important, we know that a diverse organization is stronger, a diverse student body supports better learning, a diverse graduating class is better for our society – we all benefit when we embrace and intentionally work to ensure diversity. While the Supreme Court decision does not outlaw diversity, it has made our processes for ensuring racial diversity much harder.
The decision is dispiriting, and many in our community are feeling discouraged, but this decision is not defeating. We will work harder than ever to make sure we honor our commitment to diversity at Southern New Hampshire University. As an open access institution, this will not affect our admission practices. We have a smart and determined network of leaders digging in, studying the decision, seeking expert external guidance, and rallying together to do all we legally can to make sure SNHU remains a place that unlocks opportunity for those who have been historically denied.
Diversity, inclusion, and equity are no less important at SNHU than they were yesterday. We are more committed than ever, and while we have a long way to go, we have made progress on the DEI front and have taken emphatic steps to ensure continued progress. That does not stop with today’s ruling.