By Samir Abu Rumman, PhD
It is easy to find racial diversity in American society in general, and prestigious universities like Princeton in particular, astonishingly evident in every corner of the university, with breaths of pride and pride from its president to its students! Therefore, the university is keen on it to an extent that may not be comprehended by many, to the point of implementing incentivized admission policies to ensure the representation of diverse groups. These policies have been a subject of controversy, to the extent that they reached the corridors of the courts, and on June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an unwelcome decision – according to Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber – to invalidate race-conscious admission programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, effectively banning admission policies that have long been used to increase the number of Black, Latino, and other underrepresented minority students on American campuses.
Regardless of the importance of racial diversity as a significant factor in university rankings, with Princeton University reigning supreme at the undergraduate level, the university’s president criticized the decision in a special message sent to the entire university community on the same day as the court’s decision. He expressed his disappointment and pledged to maintain the university’s diversity, concluding his message with, “…diversity is essential to the excellence of this University and to the future of our country and the world. Princeton will pursue it with energy, persistence, and a determination to succeed despite the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court in its regrettable decision today.”
Princeton University is considered one of the most attractive universities in the world for its diversity, talents, minorities, and international students. I have personally enjoyed this diversity not only as a visiting research scholar but also benefited from its strength in a way that cannot be compared to other universities, such as foreign students enjoying financial advantages not different from American students! Therefore, the university president argues in favour of diversity, stating that it is necessary to retain talents and attract exceptional individuals from all backgrounds, enabling them to thrive on campus. He emphasizes that this diversity benefits the process of learning and research by expanding the range of perspectives and experiences brought forth in important subjects throughout the university.
The Supreme Court views these policies as conflicting with the principle of equality and constituting negative racial discrimination. Therefore, this decision is considered a severe blow to efforts to achieve diversity in universities and prevent the regression of racial discrimination. However, the president of Princeton University declared a strong commitment to diversity and announced that Princeton will work with enthusiasm and determination to maintain and increase diversity despite the constraints imposed by the Supreme Court.
Regardless of the motives of the opponents of the court’s decision, ensuring the representation of society in such ways is closer to justice, surpassing the narrow view of equality. Moreover, considering admission policies for these groups is not only beneficial for these minorities and groups, but also beneficial for society and humanity as a whole.
Original article published in Arabic here with the first English translation published on Generation1.ca: https://alanba.com.kw/1191161/
Samir Abu-Rumman, PhD, is a visiting research scholar at Princeton University, USA, with extensive years of experience in research, education, and development in different countries. He is the supervisor of “World of Opinions” in Kuwait, Jordan, and the U.S., has led and supervised different regional and global research projects for organizations such as the World Values Survey and Arab Barometer for Princeton University. He was also one of the keynote panelists at Generation1.ca’s upcoming Virtual Insights Career Fair and Case Competition.