The Jed Foundation (JED) is disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to rule against race-conscious admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, effectively curtailing affirmative action at colleges and universities nationwide.
JED’s mission is to protect youth mental health and prevent suicide, and that includes ensuring that no students feel isolated, tokenized, or underrepresented on their own campus. As of 2022, this is an issue that persists, with 27% of Black college students reporting that they felt psychologically unsafe on campus. That is why we endorse affirmative action as an initiative that creates more equitable opportunities and helps diversify student bodies at higher education institutions in the United States.
Affirmative action programs were created to help remove discrimination and bias from the admissions process and address racial inequality on campus, acting in part as a counterweight to legacy admissions, donor seats, and other privileged entry points to higher education. Research shows that the diversity of the overall college population has increased by over 57% since the implementation of affirmative action programs. A lesser-known benefit of affirmative action is that it also protects against gender discrimination on campus.
Research also shows that inclusive environments promote community and connection are two of the most important factors for improving youth mental health. Additionally, diversifying campuses makes students more likely to interact with peers whose backgrounds differ from their own, which has been shown to boost civic engagement, intellectual performance, and leadership skills.
Unfortunately, today’s Supreme Court’s decision will undoubtedly harm the well-being of young people—not only those students who would have directly benefited from affirmative action, but everyone attending schools that were using such programs to ensure that all of their students felt safe, supported, and welcome.
JED believes it is vital for the well-being of future generations that we collectively strive to create a more equitable society—which must include efforts to eliminate discrimination and bias from all aspects of higher education.
Read our complete statement here.
About The Jed Foundation (JED)
JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.
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Vice President, Communications, The Jed Foundation