The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

Affirmative Action Spurs Both Victory and Defeat for Students at Woodbridge High

Woodbridge High students and staff discuss how the repeal of affirmative action is impacting the future of college admissions and beyond

For the 2023-24 college admissions cycle and the foreseeable future, universities no longer consider race as a standalone factor in college applications.

On June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court announced the repeal of affirmative action in the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard case (2023), becoming widely known by students nationwide. In a 6-3 decision, affirmative action was deemed as an unconstitutional policy based on the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

The notion of affirmative action is designed to prevent unlawful discrimination against American minorities and to promote opportunities that guarantee minorities equal access to a broad spectrum of areas including jobs, educational opportunities and government support packages.

“Nothing prohibits universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life, so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability that the particular applicant can contribute to the university,” Supreme Court Justice John Roberts said.

This was a conclusion acting as a guide for students to use as they decide the impact of race in their personal statements.

Many wonder how the absence of race in the admission of college applicants will play a role in campus diversity.

According to the Harvard Crimson, “In 1996, California voters approved a ballot measure that barred the state’s public universities from considering race, ethnicity, and gender in college admissions. Following this ban on affirmative action, the University of California (UC) system experienced a significant drop in racial diversity on its campuses.”

In order to capture a holistic view of the student, colleges continue to accept racial discussion in personal statements and essays. Applicants are encouraged to utilize their race to highlight how their life circumstances build upon their character.

Affirmative action was initially created to protect underrepresented groups regarding gender, race and ethnicity. It granted these groups equitable access to quality education and employment.

What this repeal means for future college applicants worries some, while it brings hope to others here at Woodbridge High.

“Admitting students based [on] their academic achievement and personal achievement is going to make [college programs] flourish even more,” junior Aarushi Ghildyal said.

Students across different grades share similar opinions.

“I think academics should be more prioritized than race because a lot of great students put work into accomplishing those achievements, and deserve to go to a great school,” senior Alexis Natividad said.

Some students believe that integrating equity into schooling systems is imperative in setting students up for success in their future careers.

“I am not completely opposed to affirmative action at the same time because I do think there needs to be more movement toward equity,” senior Keren Brown said.

Furthermore, Brown expands on how the repeal of affirmative action continues to shape students’ outlook on college applications and career choices

“Different people have different resources and because we don’t all start on the same level, some of us should have more chances,” Brown said.

The Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) promotes diversity on all campuses and will continue to do so even after the repeal of affirmative action.

Woodbridge High counselor Elizabeth Taylor expands on the importance of student diversity and how IUSD hopes to improve all schools across Irvine.

“I can speak on behalf of Irvine Unified School District for now, but I think [there] is a focus on equity and access. I think we are continuously reviewing our programs to ensure that we are as inclusive as possible with students from all over the world and within our state directly,” Taylor said.

“We want to [make] sure that we pave a way so that we do not create barriers for students…we want our students to know that all of these experiences are attainable for them,” Taylor said.

Woodbridge High students and staff are hopeful that IUSD will continue to adapt to societal change and implement methods to enhance equitable educational access.

Institutions of education, like IUSD, are working on ways to practice equality when choosing individuals and recognizing race’s impact on one’s identity.
California legislation has made efforts to continue its race-neutral alternatives, or different approaches to level the playing field for all college applicants.
It aims to provide a holistic review of all applications and continue its top-percent programs across all high schools.

Additionally, UCs and others are going test blind for the 2023-2024 school year and eliminating legacy admissions to combat unfair admissions.
“[Colleges and universities] should not abandon their commitment to ensure student bodies of diverse backgrounds and experiences that reflect all of America,” President Joe Biden said.

The overturn of this 40-plus-year policy encourages Woodbridge High students, staff, and state and federal policy-makers to shine a brighter and more hopeful light on how the schools can move forward.

“We need to keep an open door of opportunities. We need to remember that diversity is our strength. We have to find a way forward,” Biden said.

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About the Contributors
Annabelle Ko
Annabelle Ko, In-Depth Editor
Hey Warriors! I am very honored to be your In-Depth Editor for the Golden Arrow this year. My name is Annabelle Ko and this is my second year in journalism. I am looking forward to producing print issues and website stories that tell the story of all students and staff at our school! I hope to grow as a journalist and highlight the people and activities that make Woodbridge unique. Happy reading everyone!
Amal Dini
Amal Dini, Business Manager
Hi! I’m Amal D and I’m super excited to be on the Golden Arrow team. My passions in journalism are writing (mainly opinion and news) as well as featuring new students/clubs/activities on campus, especially the underrepresented ones. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy going to the beach, late night drives, music, food, and online shopping.
Niki Hamedani
Niki Hamedani, Writer
Hi! Im Niki and I'm one of your 23-24 golden arrow writers! :)
Melody Liao
Melody Liao, News Editor
Hey everyone! My name is Melody Liao, and I am thrilled to be your News Editor this year. As my first and final year in Golden Arrow, I aim to unite many teachers and students by allowing everyone to have a voice and feature Woodbridge's significant events. I hope my writing will bring you the knowledge on what Woodbridge offers. As a senior at Woodbridge High School, I am a board member of various clubs and a chamber singer in the Woodbridge choir. In my free time, I spend hours reading romance and fantasy books. If you have any questions related to Golden Arrow or would like to chat with me personally, do not hesitate to reach out to me on instagram, @mwlleo! This year will be our year, Warriors! :)