The United States Supreme Court
issued a ruling ending affirmative action in higher education, making it unlawful for colleges and universities to take race into consideration as a specific factor in admission decisions. The Board of Directors of the Business School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Collaborative (BUSDEIC) is disappointed and saddened by this most recent action taken by the court to strip away protections afforded to underrepresented populations. Our organization is formed around the recognition that diversity, in all forms, is not only valuable but necessary to the success of business schools and businesses in general. There are proven demonstrable benefits of diverse classrooms and campuses that prepare the business leaders of tomorrow with the skills needed to succeed in our multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural nation.
Diversity of thought, of background, of experience – each of these things contributes to an organization’s culture and success. First-generation students, non-traditional students, differently-abled students, and military veterans pursuing higher education only make colleges and universities stronger. Anything that stands in the way of diverse individuals’ academic success harms everyone who would benefit from interaction with them. BUSDEIC is built on the understanding that policies that ensure diversity improve the experience and outcomes for everyone, not just those who are directly impacted.
Affirmative action played a vital role in breaking down systemic barriers that hindered generations of individuals impacted by racism, bigotry, and discrimination. While we long for the day when those protections are no longer necessary, it is obvious that this day has not yet come. There is still much work to be done. Our resolve is strengthened to advance best practices and build connections so that this vital work can continue despite this setback. It is now more important than ever that business schools and their industry partners understand the ways to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in compliance with the law. That is our mission. That is our commitment. We stand strong with our members and partners in recognition that this ruling will not stop progress.
DIVERSITY refers to the differences among people. Characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, physical ability, mental ability, culture, religion, and many others contribute to the diversity of an organization.
EQUITY refers to fair and equal access, opportunity, and advancement for all persons. This means that everyone is playing on a level field, with no advantages - systemic or otherwise - going to one group over another.
INCLUSION refers to the extent to which the members of an organization feel as if they belong and are valued by the organization and the people who make it up. This is a vital component of maintaining a truly diverse and equitable organization.