Return to All News

Statement from President McCorn on the Supreme Court Affirmative Action Ruling

July 01, 2023

The Clinton College family is deeply disappointed by the United States Supreme Court's decision to reject race-conscious affirmative action in college admissions. Our beloved community has consistently stood for the principles of justice, diversity, equality, and equity. In the fight against systemic injustice and inequality, Affirmative action has long been an essential tool in the pursuit of justice and fairness, especially for marginalized communities. It has expanded access to educational opportunities that contribute to creating a more just society. Many of our graduates have justifiably benefited from policies that seek to level the playing field for those pursuing graduate admissions to institutions that historically have had low minority acceptance rates. Clinton College has always held diversity as a fundamental principle that enriches the educational experience for all students, regardless of their background or circumstances. We stand united with all our sister HBCUs, and other fair-minded institutions of higher education, in this noble cause.

At Clinton College, this ruling compels us to strengthen our efforts in programming and partnerships that advance social justice and equal access to education and opportunity. We remain determined in our mission, guided by our 129-year legacy, and driven by our unwavering belief in the transformative power of education and equitable access for all deserving students. There is a mistaken and misguided notion that Affirmative Action is somehow detrimental “reverse discrimination.”  As Darren Walker of the Ford Foundation explains: “The data suggests exactly the opposite. Study after study demonstrates that, across organizations, diversity enhances critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, as well as productivity, profitability, and performance. It is a national tragedy that diversity is now a contested issue rather than a common interest. And we should tell the truth about why diversity is now controversial: Opponents of diversity are opponents of any racial consciousness. They want to prevent us from understanding the ways that the past informs the present, from wrestling with the fullness and richness and complexity of our history.”[1]

This misguided action by an increasingly politically partisan Supreme Court calls for our society to invest more economic resources and provide more moral support for this nation’s underappreciated treasures, HBCUs. Clinton College stands ready to make this case before the court of public opinion and the philanthropic community. This decision, along with other dangerous currents in our nation that seek to undermine the establishment of “a more perfect union” in the United States, has fortified our resolve to establish a Center for Ethical Leadership, Social Change, and Racial Justice at Clinton College. We will continue to expand a curriculum that enables and empowers critical thinking, civic engagement, and creative change in pursuit of a just and inclusive Beloved Community for all people. Clinton College, like all HBCUs, is one of the most powerful agents of social mobility for low-wealth communities. We will seek to further promote the true value of a diverse education in a dynamic global society, as we produce graduates who are more like Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson and Sonia Sotomayor in their righteous dissent, speaking truth to power on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized citizens of our society.

Dr. Lester A. McCorn

13th President of Clinton College

[1] Darren Walker, “Repeal of Affirmative Action is Only the Beginning,” New York Times, June 30, 2023.