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1. Anti-Affirmative Action Group asks the U.S. Supreme Court to combine and expedite its cases against Harvard and UNC Chapel Hill
Earlier this month, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) petitioned the Supreme Court to combine its lawsuits against Harvard and UNC Chapel Hill. The group is opposing Affirmative Action, which is designed to address minority admission rates. SFFA intends to use the Court’s discretion to join cases, so a precedent can be set for higher education in the US. "[...] the Supreme Court ... should consider that question in the context of both a private school and a public school," explains Edward Blum, founder of SFFA. The Federal Appeals Court has already ruled in favor of Harvard’s targeted admission process that takes race into account. UNC Chapel Hill is also backed by a District Court decision allowing them to maintain an Affirmative Action policy. These will be considered by the Supreme Court, in ruling on SSFA’s motion against Affirmative Action in the higher education system.
Crimson’s Take: Affirmative Action is still a hot topic in the university admissions process, with SFFA at the forefront of scrutinizing its place in higher education. Although we believe these policies can provide fair access to education for students, especially those facing obstacles due to their ethnicity or socioeconomic background, there are perceived disadvantages. Every qualified student deserves a fair shot at a top-notch education, and for that reason, we support Affirmative Action for its intended purpose, to ensure adequate representation of minorities in higher education.
2. International student enrollment rate in the US begin to pick up for Fall 2021
US colleges and universities registered a 4% increase in international students this fall according to a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Last year, enrollments dropped by 15% due to the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted international education. “Many international students were not able to travel to the United States due to travel restrictions. U.S. universities showed incredible flexibility in offering many of these students the opportunity to begin or continue their studies online, whether in the United States or from abroad.” - Mirka Martel, head of research, evaluation and learning at IIE.
Crimson’s Take: Despite the steep decline in overall enrollment, US universities are slowly starting to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to see international students returning to US campuses in person and online this semester. Every qualified student deserves the chance to attend the university of their dreams, so we can only hope that the numbers will improve over time. College is a valuable and formative experience for all students, so we hope that the effects of the pandemic will soon be a thing of the past.
3. Upward trend of students bringing pets to campus for emotional support
There is a reported rise in emotional support animals on campus since the pandemic began, primarily due to the stress of returning to campus after more than a year of online study. The animals are sometimes registered as emotional support animals; others are just house pets that students bring with them. “It could be a really great benefit as students transition and have a really big change in routine in a short period of time,” says Christine Kivlen, assistant professor of occupational therapy at Wayne State University and expert on therapy dog programs. “I am hopeful that the increased literature in this area can help more individuals on campus implement programs and implement them the correct way.”
Crimson’s Take: As a company that works year-round to help students in varying stages of their journey to university, we see the value that mental health and emotional wellness play in balancing their commitments to school, extracurricular activities, family and friends, and time for themselves. While confronted with so many challenges posed by the pandemic, it is encouraging to see educational institutions addressing students' emotional needs and taking steps to help them manage their mental health.