Op-ed: Dean Erika Smith responds to Supreme Court’s affirmative action decision
In an op-ed published by the Westerly Sun on July 11, Dean of the College Erika J. Smith responds to the U.S. Supreme Court’s “devastating decision” on affirmative action in the college admission process.
A descendant of enslaved people and immigrants, Smith has 25 years of experience as a senior administrator in higher education. In her piece, she suggests a path forward to ensure continued access and support for diverse students. Smith writes in part, “The arc of strategy should begin before students even approach a campus. Do they see you as a welcoming institution? A place that will admit and support them if they apply? A place that is genuinely interested in seeing those same students thrive?”
Smith, who joined Connecticut College in 2021, cites several Conn programs, offices and initiatives that play a crucial role in supporting underrepresented students on campus, including Race and Ethnicity Programs, the People of Color Alliance, the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity, and the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, as well as the Hale Center for Career Development and the Holleran Center for Community Action. She states that these and similar programs at other colleges can and will continue their missions.
“We must continue to open doors, mentor and advocate for change. We cannot let setbacks such as the Supreme Court’s ruling against race-conscious admissions discourage us from paving the way for others who look up to us as beacons of hope,” Smith writes.
Read the op-ed.
For more reaction on the SCOTUS ruling from the Conn community, click here.