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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Affirmative action to affect NIU scholarships

Kaitlyn Lee-Gordon
Members of the Faculty Senate councils and committees gather at Wednesday’s meeting at Altgeld Hall in the second floor auditorium. The Faculty Senate discussed changes to the university’s employment and scholarship regulations, based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action in college admissions. (Kaitlyn Lee-Gordon | Northern Star)

DeKALB – The NIU Faculty Senate discussed its first steps in revising various employment and scholarship regulations. 

The discussion comes after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against colleges using affirmative action, issued in June.

Affirmative action is the practice that allowed race and other social factors to be considered during higher education admissions. 

Race-based affirmative action was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 29. 

After the banning of affirmative action, many questions regarding scholarships and financial aid, data collection, and employment have been left unanswered.  

During Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, General Counsel Bryan Perry said NIU is still deciding what scholarships are acceptable after the Supreme Court’s ruling. 

“All of the scholarships, we’re putting them in different buckets,” Perry said. “There’s a green bucket which is the easiest: merit based, need-based; there’s no racial component whatsoever. There is a yellow bucket where there’s plenty of criteria other than race, but race may be a small factor. Then, there’s a red bucket, which I don’t think we have a lot of, those are the ones where the only component is race. We know that those are going to be targeted, and those are the ones we have to make a decision on how we’re going to handle.”

Perry said he believes all financial aid awards offered by NIU could become race-neutral. 

All race-related external funding will be taken into account by the university however, decisions will not be made unless required. 

NIU’s Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion explained the importance of its inclusion within academic practices.

Carol Sumner, vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer, said DEI is more than just race-based. 

Sumner said other demographic factors pose obstacles for students such as sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and gender. 

“When we’re framing diversity, equity and inclusion, my hope, as I have come into this role, is that we’re considering the multiple facets of who we are as people and not only our race,” Sumner said. “Our race does not always continue to be a factor in some environments.” 


A motion was passed allowing the proposal to close the university on general election days. NIU currently has no classes for that event; however, since the university remains open, staff and student workers are expected to stay on campus.

In addition, the Board of Trustees welcomed its newest member, Leland Strom, at the meeting.

SGA will hold the Fall 2023 State of the Student Government Association at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium. The meeting will address what SGA has accomplished this semester.

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