Nearly four months after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action, Gov. Maura Healey and Attorney General Andrea Campbell have issued guidance on how schools can continue to work for equal access and representation in higher education.
“We know there’s been concern and confusion about what is legal and allowable,” Healey said at an announcement at UMass Boston on Monday morning. “Now, these guidelines make clear every campuses’ continued rights and continued opportunities to expand access and advance equity and inclusion on every campus. Because we want you to know, don’t stop doing what you’re doing.”
The guidelines outline what K-12 schools and colleges and universities can legally do to foster diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education, building off similar direction released by the Biden administration in September.
The Supreme Court released a decision against Harvard and UNC in June banning the use of specific consideration of race in college admissions.
The legal steps outlined in the new state guidance for colleges and universities include considering life experiences and adversity in college admissions, auditing current admissions processes — like legacy admissions preferences — for barriers, and supporting students from specific middle and high schools, especially those that may have historically low college-going rates.
For K-12 institutions, the guidance states, schools may continue to take steps to support students with college preparedness, including “targeted actions” to increase awareness and access among underserved communities.
“The governor and I both want to be crystal clear and send a signal to our education community and all of you that certain efforts to break down barriers to access and create a safe and supportive school environment are vital, are legal, and can and should continue,” Campbell said.