This piece was originally published in WRAL TechWire.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down race-conscious admissions policies at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University recently, critics protested that the decision would erase decades of progress in making higher ed more just and equitable. Others pointed to longer term negative implications on the national educational system as the decision filters through colleges and universities, private high schools and other admissions-based schools.
In the private sector, the decision sent a collective shudder through senior leaders and others who advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programming. The fear is that although the recent effort is limited to higher education admissions processes, a similar ruling could strike down DEI efforts in the business world.
The fear is real, but the response can’t be to cower. Instead, we need to double-down on DEI programming, not just because it’s the correct thing to do morally or ethically, but because it is what customers, employees, shareholders and stakeholders want.