The Rant

The SCOTUS Rant

July 01, 2023 Eloy Oakley Season 1 Episode 16
The Rant
The SCOTUS Rant
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I give my initial impressions on the recent SCOTUS decisions regarding race conscious admissions and student loan debt forgiveness. I set my sights on the responsibility of college and university leaders and what they can do to truly support low-income learners and learners of color. My Rant digs in to some of the hypocrisy that followed the SCOTUS decisions and some thoughts on how to move forward.

Eloy:

Hi, this is Elo Ortiz Oakley, and welcome back to the Rant, the podcast where we pull back the curtain and break down the people, the policies, and the politics of our higher education system. In this episode, we're gonna spend some time breaking down the politics of higher education. I share my initial reactions to the SCOTUS ruling on race conscious admissions and student loan debt relief. Two topics that have dominated much of the higher education airspace for the last couple of years, and that's certainly been true of my airspace. And to give the appropriate disclaimer to my listeners this episode and my comments here are not associated with my role leading the College Futures Foundation, but I'm sure many of White Album about say does align with the way that they think about this issue. And a warning that some of what I will say in this episode may be upsetting to some of my listeners, but hang in there with me. First, let me begin with affirmative action or race conscious admissions. There is certainly plenty to be upset about regarding SCOTUS and this decision. Not the least of which is the reinforcing of privilege that these justices will continue to allow through this ruling, and also the complete disconnect between their own privileged experience coming from highly rejective outrageously expensive law schools and that of the rest of the country's experience in higher education. However, my main target today is not scotus, but institutional leaders, faculty leaders, and policymakers. First, let me begin with college and university leaders. I've seen a flood of statements expressing indignation. They've surfaced at every corner of higher education on social media. In my email. Outrage and disappointment are words that pop up most frequently in those statements, so to the majority of those leaders, I say to you, horse manure, or in other words, BS. If you are truly outraged. Then drop the layers of discriminatory practices that your institutions continue to support and that impact negatively impact low income learners and learners of color. What am I talking about? I'm talking about. Ending the use of standardized admissions and placement tests like the S A T A C T G R E and accuplacer. These tests do nothing more than discriminate against low income learners and learners of color. They have nothing to do with college preparation. So if you're truly indignant about the SCOTUS ruling and the use of those practices, Stop withholding the transcripts of learners who can't pay their parking tickets or library fines, or other ridiculous fee that you charge the learner. There's a reason why they can't afford to pay them. They are struggling to pay for the cost, the total cost of attending college, and it does them no good not to be able to access their transcript because all that does is keep them from earning more money. So give them the opportunity to continue their learning, to access the transcripts for their learning so that they can continue to improve their economic wellbeing. That, in turn, will allow them to pay for more of the ridiculous fees that you charge them. Recruit and hire leaders of color and leaders who come from low income backgrounds. These individuals with their experiences are best suited to foster learners centered practices and better support learners of diverse backgrounds, whether you're on the east coast, the West coast, or middle America. Having individuals who come from those experiences will better support learners of all backgrounds. Recruit, hire and support faculty of color. Having faculty in the classroom that truly represent the diversity of our student bodies helps our students see themselves. In the learning that they're engaging with helps them see themselves as part of the fabric of higher education and not as an outsider. So recruit higher and support, and with an emphasis on support your faculty of color. And then finally, it is amazing to me. Institutions who continue to have legacy admissions. In some cases, 40 50% of their admits are legacy admissions. It's amazing to me that these individuals who are showing indignation over the SCOTUS ruling actually can look at us with a straight face. this is extremely. Extremely hypocritical. So, and the use of legacy admissions, especially at the highly rejected universities and colleges to my faculty leaders, colleagues, in the classroom. We need you to diversify your leadership ranks. There are plenty of faculty of color and faculty from diverse disciplines and graduate programs that can provide unique perspectives in those leadership circles, academic senates and union leadership positions are predominantly filled. By white traditional faculty perspectives, and these perspectives cannot or will not embrace the challenges that this new generation of learners face. So diversify your ranks, allowing faculty of color or faculty that come from low income backgrounds to be part of the practices that you foster to support diverse learners. And my faculty colleagues, we need you to embrace new pedagogy and technology that learners are demanding. Very few low-income learners can afford a residential, college, or university experience. Most have to work and raise families, so quit finding excuses why it is too difficult to serve these learners and just embrace them. I have a suggestion to you for those faculty who are at, traditional colleges and four year universities, invite your community college faculty to come in and actually talk to you about how to best serve diverse learners. This is what community college faculty specialize in. You wanna talk about learning loss? Community college faculty face learning loss every day in their classroom, and they support those learners and get them ready to go to a four year university. That's what they did for me. To my friends who are policymakers and other institutional leaders, embrace community college transfer students. Here's a news flash folks. Community college students are diverse. How about that and why? Because our community colleges accept the top 100% of learners in their communities, and their communities are typically diverse. So for your universities, if you truly want and accept and embrace a diverse student body, well guess what? Here's an easy path to that. Clarify and strengthen the transfer pathways. For learners that are coming from your community colleges. Now lemme turn my attention to the SCOTUS decision on student loan debt forgiveness. Once again, privileged policymakers and policy wonks, and there's plenty out there on social media right now are debating what makes good policy and who should benefit from government subsidies and also who should pay for all this student loan debt. Those that are already buried with the debt caused by the failed higher education, finance, and accountability policies that these individuals promulgated in years past. Are not at the table and have no say in this. They're the ones straddled with the debt. They're the ones who are gonna have a hard time building wealth and passing on that wealth for generations to come. Unlike the policymakers and the policy wonks who are having this debate, and they failed to recognize how many government subsidies they received, or institutional subsidies, or the subsidies that their wealthy families received. To offset the cost of their education. They quickly forget about all of that. So let's not straddle this new generation of learner with debt that will ensure that their families never build the kind of wealth that we want for every person in this country. This SCOTUS decision further cripples the ability of low income individuals and their families to build wealth. So let's find a way to either. Allow them to forgive the debt or give them an easier way to discharge the debt because again, this debt continues to haunt them throughout their life. I know personally, I've met many students, people in my family who are carrying debt from institutions that promised them, sold them on an opportunity to get a job in a certain field, and that dream never materialized, and now they're struggling. To figure out how to pay back that debt with very low earnings and no real way to pay that off anytime soon. So let's stop straddling this generation with the kind of debt that will ensure that they and their families never get a chance to achieve the American dream and to institutions. Institutions are by and large complicit in the student loan. Debt problem along with federal and state policymakers, they drive and fuel the rising cost of education with federally subsidized dollars that leaves the middle class and low income learners holding the bag. Higher education leaders and administrators and faculty pay as well as their programs continue to rise in cost. They continue to see increases and they try to pass this along to the learner and then ask the federal government or states to help subsidize that. That is absolutely the wrong direction to go, and we should no longer support and encourage that kind of behavior. It is no secret, folks, that the push for doubling the Pell is driven in part, not completely, but in part because of the greed of institutions and not the concern for the learner. So the. What do we do? Where do we go from here? First and foremost, elections matter. This generation of learners and young people must organize, vote, and demand accountability from lawmakers and college and university leaders. Vote both at the ballot box and with your feet. Reject institutions that ignore the rising cost of education or ignore the need to support learners or who. Continue to use predatory marketing practices to sell learners a dream that they can never fulfill. Reject those institutions. Go to institutions that open the door for you that have a primary mission of making a college experience a post-secondary experience, affordable and reject siding with warr in factions on campus, whether it's faculty or the administrators. These squabbles rarely put the students at the center. So don't side with either faculty or administration side with learners. Organize yourselves and demand more. Hold states and institutions accountable for the total cost of education. It's insanity to think that we can continue to turn to the federal government to solve problems that are the responsibility of states and local governments and reward leaders and institutions that are truly making higher education. More accessible and more affordable. And yes, there are several institutions who are trying to do this, who in their mission, in their DNA, want to increase access. Community colleges, four year regional universities, institutions that are dedicated to low-income learners reward them and begin to reject those institutions that only cater to the wealthy and that continue to be indignant over this ruling, even though they foster practices that make it harder and harder for low income learners and learners of color to succeed. So, that's it for today. I'm running outta breath, so I'm gonna end this rant. I thank you for joining me on the rant. If you enjoyed this episode, hit the like button. Subscribe to the YouTube channel. Follow us on your favorite podcast platform. I'm gonna have some special guests in the next episode to talk more about the race conscious, admissions ruling from scotus, particularly from a California, and specifically from a University of California point of view. Why? Because a lot of people in this country are pointing to California, and yes, as a Californian, I lived through Prop 2 0 9. I have lived through race conscious admissions, both as an administrator and as a member of the Board of Regions for the University of California. So a lot of point people are pointing to the University of California is an example of what can happen going forward. And so my guests will talk about what actually has happened. What can happen? What are some of the successes, but also what are some of the catastrophic failures of what happened when we disallowed race and ethnicity and admissions in California? And I will say this, what we should expect for this country based on SCOTUS decision and based on California's experience, is this is gonna have a devastating impact on black learners. Because that's what happened in California. So stay tuned to the next episode, and I'll see you all soon.