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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Observer

SMC Votes hosts discussion on affirmative action

On Wednesday, SMC Votes hosted a session of their Discussion and Donuts series to talk about affirmative action and how it relates to the Saint Mary’s community.

Amelia Moroney, a sophomore member of the SMC Votes team and organizer of Discussion and Donuts, said that SMC Votes exists to help Saint Mary’s students find their voices, foster dialogue and encourage students to register to vote. Part of helping students find a voice comes through activities such as Discussion and Donuts, a monthly talk held by SMC Votes to encourage friendly debates between students with different perspectives. 

“Basically, we’re going to provide coffee and donuts for students and a topic of conversation. Then we’ll lead a semi-moderated conversation about something in the political or social world," Moroney said.

Senior and student organizer Jeanett Ochoa called the series “an open space for students to share their own experiences, political stances or any other viewpoints based on what the topic will be about.”

The night started with a brief history of affirmative action, led by Moroney and Ochao. Affirmative action was put into place by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The Supreme Court overturned affirmative action with its decisions in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. UNC on June 29.

Moroney and Ochoa went on to detail how affirmative actions affects college admissions and what differences will be seen in upcoming years now that the Supreme Court has overturned the order. 

“With the Supreme Court decision just happening this summer, we thought this was a very timely matter to talk about affirmative action,” Moroney said. 

They then prompted discussion with questions regarding attendees’ thoughts on affirmative actions and how it might affect Saint Mary’s specifically. 

“We had a pretty good turnout of students,” Ochoa said. “A lot of people shared about their own experiences and what they thought.”

Moroney also said she thought that the event was a success.

“I wasn’t anticipating the discussion to go into the direction that it did, but I’m also happy that it did because I got to learn a lot about other Saint Mary’s students,” she said. “I learned a lot about different intersectional identities, how that affects people and how they feel about college and the admissions process.”

The discussion lasted an hour, with conversation ranging from student’s experiences with admissions, experiences of racism and communities and belonging within Saint Mary’s.

Overall, Orchoa and Moroney were both pleased with the event but both expressed desire to see it grow as the semester continues. 

“We’re hoping to see more students join us later on in the semester, just so we can start breaking down those barriers, breaking down that shyness of discussing or asking questions,” Orchoa said.