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Vance issues warnings to two Ohio colleges, Ivy League universities

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(The Center Square) – U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance threatened to investigate two Ohio colleges and Ivy League universities if those schools plan to try to get around a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that banned affirmative-action-based admissions.

In a statement, the Republican from Ohio said Ivy League presidents, along with presidents at Kenyon College and Oberlin College, made statements he said indicated plans to defy the court’s ruling and continue to focus on race during the admissions process.

“The United States Senate is prepared to use its full investigative powers to uncover circumvention, covert or otherwise, of the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Vance said in a letter to the university and college presidents. “You are advised to retain admissions documents in anticipation of future congressional investigations, including digital communications between admissions officers, any demographic or other data compiled during future admissions cycles, and other relevant materials. As you are aware, a number of federal criminal statutes regulate the destruction of records connected to federal investigations, some of which apply prior to the formal commencement of any inquiry.”

In a letter to the Kenyon community following the ruling, interim President Jeff Bowman called the decision disappointing and sobering. He said the college remains committed to access and inclusion.

“While it will take some time to fully understand the implications of the ruling, I can say with certainty that the decision does not alter Kenyon’s mission or our commitment to access and inclusion,” Bowman said. “In fact, it only strengthens our resolve.”

Bowman also said the ruling makes it more difficult for colleges to fulfill their educational mission and “dramatically understates the role race has historically played and continues to play in determining access to resources of all kinds.”

In his letter, Vance called it alarming that Bowman extolled the “transformative power of living, learning and working in a diverse community” and said that “the decision does not alter Kenyon’s mission or commitment to access and inclusion.”

Vance also singled out Oberlin College President Carmen Twillie Ambar saying she was “deeply saddened and concerned for the future of higher education” when the decision was announced. Vance also said Ambar told students and faculty that rather than dampening her enthusiasm for affirmative action policies, the decision “only strengthens our determination to be a welcoming place where diversity is celebrated.”

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