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Affirmative action ruling won't impact Utah schools, state says

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jun 29, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling striking down race-conscious admissions policies is not expected to have much impact on Utah's public colleges and universities, according to the state's higher education authority.

"While the recent decision by the Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action policies may be causing concern among students and families throughout the nation, it is important to note that this ruling will not impact admissions at public colleges and universities in Utah," the Utah System of Higher Education said in a statement to FOX 13 News. "Unlike some other institutions across the country, Utah public colleges and universities do not consider an applicant’s race or ethnicity when making admissions decisions."

"Though we are still assessing the broader impacts, if any, the court's ruling may have on our institutions, the Utah System of Higher Education remains dedicated to creating welcoming and inclusive environments that encourage and celebrate the unique backgrounds of every student."

Across Utah, universities and colleges were reviewing the opinion issued Thursday by the nation's top court to look at any impacts. But so far, universities said that because they do not consider race or ethnicity in admissions decisions.

"Today’s decision does not affect our admissions practices at Utah State University as race is not a factor in decisions," the Logan-based Utah State University said in a statement. "As a land-grant university, USU is committed to increasing access and opportunity for all Utahns to attend our institution and will continue our efforts to build a campus community that supports and reflects this mission."

In an FAQ on its website ahead of the Supreme Court decision, the University of Utah said it does have people who do outreach to students from minority groups within the state. However, the acceptance process is not race-based and is the same for all applicants.

"If the Supreme Court rules against race-conscious admissions policies, how does that impact the U? If the court only forbids race-conscious admissions policies, it will have no impact on the U," the university said.

In a later statement, U of U President Taylor Randall sought to reiterate support for creating a campus where all feel welcome.

"Higher education is the pathway to lifelong success," he said. “Our priority still is to build an environment where our students, current and prospective, see the U as a place where they can pursue their passion and a path to opportunity."