Statement from Ryan J. Smith, Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, on affirmative action and supporting diversity on college campuses

“Increasing diversity at colleges and universities is part of actualizing the American dream. We should be doing more – not less – to reach students who have been historically and traditionally underserved.

This past November marked the twenty year anniversary of California’s passage of Proposition 209 which barred affirmative action in the public sector. Unfortunately, despite California’s and the nation’s increasing demographic diversity, Black and Latino students, along with some groups of students within the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community, continue to be underrepresented at California’s public universities. We believe now more than ever it’s important to continue to expand – not limit – diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on campuses across the country.
I am disturbed by the news that despite the barriers many students of color still face, the Trump administration appears to be directing resources to fight efforts to increase diversity in the very spaces that nurture our next generation of business and civic leaders. This is a detrimental course to chart on civil rights. 
We applaud and support the institutions that embrace diversity and champion equity on their campuses and through their policies and practices. This work makes us a better state and a better nation. The Education Trust–West will continue to stand with and work with the administrators and student leaders who fight for more supportive, inclusive, and equitable pathways to and through higher education.”

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