Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, has weighed in on Thursday’s decision by the Supreme Court to gut affirmative action in college admissions, and CNN’s senior political correspondent Abby Phillip agrees with one part of his opinion.
CNN’s Dana Bash played a clip from Fox News in which Scott says that now that affirmative action has ended, it’s also time to end admissions for legacy students:
Scott: One of the things that Harvard can do to make that even better is to eliminate any legacy programs where they have preferential treatment for legacy kids. … Let’s make sure that all admissions are based on academic scores and not just eliminating affirmative action…
In response, Phillip — hesitantly — agreed:
He’s right! I mean legacy admissions, athletics, kids of faculty members represent a huge chunk of the Harvard undergraduate student population. Legacy admissions in particular benefit predominantly white students. It’s a huge part of the picture of college admissions.
But while she agreed with the basic facts, Phillip went on to point out that there’s much more context to what affirmative action was intended to do:
I appreciate that bit of nuance, but I think that is lost in the rest of the conversation. And it also doesn’t address the other part of it, which is that it isn’t just a question of whether individual students should have the right test scores, etc. It’s also a question of whether or not, you know, parts of this country, large swaths of them, where Black people live, which were redlined, and racially segregated, and disinvested in public schools, whether the students who live there now, or their parents, still face any consequences from those things. And I think that’s the part where the conversation doesn’t go in the political space. And when it does go there… I mean the court right now has basically said, ‘No, that doesn’t matter.’
This is where Phillip acknowledged that someone campaigning for president likely wouldn’t be putting any of that on a bumper sticker, saying, “I don’t expect that to be talked about on the campaign trail.” However she did point out Scott’s own background and why he should be aware of these nuances:
But I actually think that’s something that Tim Scott really understands quite well, because he grew up in that part, in a poor part of South Carolina, and to his credit achieved an incredible life that he is currently living. But he understands what that sort of structural disinvestment looks like and how it affects students like him.
Watch the clip above via CNN.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org