Arcadia Hosts Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable to Discuss COVID, Affirmative Action Ruling Fallout 

By Dan DiPrinzio | September 21, 2023

On Sept. 14, the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable hosted a symposium at Arcadia University to explore the impacts COVID-19 has had on college access and success for lower income, first-generation college students and the implications of the recent Supreme Court decision on race in college admissions

The symposium, “From COVID to SCOTUS: Implications for College Access & Success,” included panel discussions featuring experts in the higher education field as well as words from Arcadia University President Ajay Nair. 

Guest contributors included Akil Bello, senior director of Advocacy and Advancement at FairTest; Ana S. del Puerto, senior associate director of admissions at University of Pennsylvania; Ameshia Cross, director of strategic communications and external affairs at The Education Trust; Shameek Robinson, northeast regional director at College Advising Corp;  and Michaele Turnage Young, senior counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. 

“We are all here because we share a concern: college access,” said Dr. Nair. “We know some of the major barriers to college access are a lack of resources to guide students in our schools, poverty, questions about the value of college education, affordability, academic readiness…. It can be daunting to think about all the challenges we face.” 

“Sadly, we can now add to the list the war against racial justice and anti-Black racism that are endemic to the forces that are shaping a false master narrative,” Dr. Nair continued. “That is, the flawed thinking that no matter how far we have come, beneficiaries of Affirmative Action, like myself, must be second-class citizens. This thinking continues to painfully and politically shape our lives and experiences. If you could write a definition of white supremacy, this surely would capture the sentiment.”

Del Puerto said she has already seen some of the effects of the Affirmative Action ruling and worries that prospective students will be afraid to tell their whole stories on the application to college. 

“Taking away a box is a problem because we can’t see the demographics of the pool and we can’t always take the full body of work of the student into account,” del Puerto said. “People now feel like they can’t be real or authentic in their application to college.”