MTA statement on SCOTUS' higher education ruling

MTA statement on SCOTUS' higher education ruling

MTA President Max Page and Vice President Deb McCarthy issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina, which ended decades of established law around creating more equitable processes in college admissions.

“As a union of educators from preK through higher education dedicated to providing everyone fair and equal access to high-quality public education, we condemn the Supreme Court’s decision today. By striking down affirmative action, the court is widening the racial education gap and turning back decades of progress. This decision will have harmful consequences for all students – but particularly Black, Latino, Asian-American and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous students.

By striking down affirmative action, the court is widening the racial education gap and turning back decades of progress.

“Obtaining higher education remains one of the most effective means of achieving a healthier democracy and providing socioeconomic mobility to those who seek it. And yet, access to a college degree has never been a fair process in this country. Indeed, even as the Supreme Court has thrown out the use of race as a consideration in admissions, preferences for the children of wealthy donors, children of alumni and athletes remain, all of which skew our admissions toward those with longstanding class and race privilege. Even when colleges have been allowed to use race as a factor in admissions, students of color faced substantial barriers to not only gaining entrance to higher education, but also completing their degree programs.

“Today, those barriers became even higher.

“Public colleges and universities have an even greater responsibility than private institutions in ensuring that every resident who is college ready can actually pursue — and obtain — a degree.

“In Massachusetts and throughout the nation, the cost of attending a public college or university in many cases remains prohibitive. Tuition, fees and associated costs such as housing, books and other expenses have gone up. Aid relative to the cost has gone down. Borrowing to attend public higher education has increased — both in terms of the numbers of students needing loans and the amount of those loans — and that growing debt burden is falling hardest on our BIPOC students.

“To truly make higher education accessible to all, we need more than words; we need action right here in Massachusetts.

“Access to high-quality, debt-free public higher education is essential to achieving racial and economic justice. Passing the Cherish Act, now before the state Legislature, is an excellent first step toward that goal. Other provisions of that bill will improve availability of support services for Asian-American, Black, Latino and other marginalized, nontraditional and first-generation students, increasing the likelihood of success in their academic and career pursuits.

“While our state Legislature doesn’t have the power to overturn a terrible ruling by the Supreme Court, there is more we can do to protect and improve access to higher education in our state, despite this setback.”