Statement From Chancellor Gary S. May on Supreme Court Decision Ending Affirmative Action
In track and field, the “staggered start” is a mechanism used to account for the fact that runners in the outer lanes of the track have a longer distance to run than those in the inner lanes. Like the staggered start, affirmative action is intended to account for historical inequities experienced by marginalized communities in higher education and other endeavors. Today, the Supreme Court has decided that this tool is no longer appropriate.
I echo President Michael Drake’s statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action. While public universities in California have recruited new classes of students without considering race and gender as main factors since 1996, opportunities available for underrepresented students will become fewer with today’s decision.
I worry that underrepresented students of color and women will find more challenges and obstacles on their way to fields like mine, engineering, and in other science and technology fields. Without programs that engage students early in their education and encourage them to persist in fields they may not have seen as available to them, our nation may further neglect nurturing intellectual diversity and promote a lack of inclusivity. That takes the country backward, not forward.
At UC Davis, we will continue to build on efforts like those of our School of Medicine, where half the class is from Black, Hispanic and Indigenous populations. We will continue to provide equitable access to all Californians.
We are committed to the notion that a college degree holds a transformative power to shape a person’s life, no matter what their background or circumstances are and no matter what barriers they may face in their academic journey.
No more stagger? We’ll just have to run faster.