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  • Austin Warren

Berea College and the SCOTUS decision on college admissions

Berea College is an institution that is known for championing interracial education. Established as the first college in the South that allowed students of all races to learn at the same institution, Berea College remains dedicated to its history, even amidst changes in the present.

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States greatly restricts an educational institution’s ability to consider the race of an applicant in student applications.

This runs contrary to the mission of Berea College, as it will be next to impossible to promote an interracial learning environment with these changes, but the administrators will not be giving up so easily.

On November 2nd, Administrative Committee—the main administrators of the College—met to discuss how the mission will continue in light of the decision.

“Berea College carries out its mission within a changing socio-political climate that has historically been indifferent and sometimes vehemently opposed to its Great Commitments,” Scott Steele wrote in an email about the response.

“Committed to interracial education since its founding, Berea has faced significant obstacles in realizing the original vision of John G. Fee. A recent decision by the Supreme Court demonstrates that staying true to mission is not easy—it requires vision and perseverance.”

According to President Dr. Cheryl Nixon, the President of Berea College, there is no concern that the current application process will be significantly changed by the ruling.

A screenshot of the document about the decision
Image courtesy of SFFA

The Supreme Court decision to restrict an institution’s ability to to consider the race of an applicant in student applications has been made to strike down selecting students on the basis of “race in and of itself.”

However, the mission of the College has a broader scope than basic diversity. An integral part of the Berea College experience is to work with and learn alongside people that vary in a variety of ways, from race to nationality and other factors.

The goal of such an arrangement is not just to insert diversity into the student population, but to promote students with a plethora of differences between them that they can learn, grow, and take care of each other together.

This arrangement has the potential to change people in ways that will make them accepting of others, and that is especially crucial for those that come from backgrounds in which they have interacted with few people that are different than themselves.

The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” is embodied in this model of education, and it will continue to be.

Once again, Berea College doesn’t intend on changing its application process. Rather, this serves as an opportunity for the campus community to deepen its understanding of the timeless endeavor that is pursuing interracial education.

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