Dear Jopwell Community,
We are deeply disappointed and frustrated by the recent SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action. While there is much to discuss regarding affirmative action's impact and potential failings, as CEO of Jopwell, I want to express a simple sentiment: we stand with you. Like many of you, I am saddened and angered, but also deeply motivated to continue the necessary work of building a more inclusive world.
With this ruling, the court has effectively decided that various advantages—such as family wealth, quality of local education, and past family enrollment at top institutions—deserve explicit or implicit consideration in the admissions process. However, the structural challenges faced by Black, Latinx, and Native American students, which have persisted for decades, continue to be overlooked.
Moreover, anyone familiar with this country's history understands that long-standing structures, policies, and institutions (such as slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and educational inequality) have disproportionately harmed certain groups while benefiting others. This negative impact extends beyond education to socioeconomic stratification, housing, health disparities (both mental and physical), unequal policing, and incarceration. These realities should be universally acknowledged as undeniable, yet they often go unrecognized.
To suggest that affirmative action—an imperfect yet highly impactful method for increasing diversity in student bodies, with multi-generational effects on access to historically inaccessible institutions—is a more unfair mechanism for assessing college success than the advantages previously mentioned strikes me as misguided and ill-intentioned.
I am hopeful that affected institutions will explore alternative approaches to consider the full range of applicants' backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, including those influenced by racial identity in this country. Suggestions such as personal essays and the de-prioritization of standardized test scores have been proposed, although there are already threats of legal action against these methods. Nevertheless, I remain cautiously optimistic that forward-thinking colleges and universities will adopt these and other strategies, recognizing the immense value that racial diversity brings to higher education, benefiting all students and historically marginalized individuals, families, and communities.
However, amidst these challenges, I am extremely confident and energized by the impact Jopwell will continue to make in the coming months and years. Our work with partners to build inclusive workplaces will persist. Our efforts to support them focus on enabling companies to diversify their candidate pools and hire the best individuals for their roles. The undeniable data shows that more diverse companies perform better financially and otherwise. Our partners are not mandated or quota-driven to hire Jopwell members or any specific racial group; they are being exposed to highly talented individuals they might not have otherwise considered.
In times like these, I am immensely grateful to have a community like you, and I know that Jopwell will rise to the occasion with empathy, creativity, and dedication to drive progress. These important conversations will continue to take place within Jopwell.