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Will affirmative action workarounds succeed?

Plus, officials vow to rebuild historic Harrisburg market.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Tuesday, July 11, 2023
College tries, principal exodus, broken promises, 'inexcusable mistake,' Methodist rift, penalty decision, and Broad Street Market destroyed.

Pennsylvania universities are promising to keep their classrooms diverse without race-based admission policies following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ban on affirmative action in higher ed enrollments. 

But Stateline reports history indicates those efforts are likely to be less succesful in maintaining diverse student bodies, based on past efforts in states where affirmative action has been banned for years.

Read the full Stateline report: Campus diversity will be a struggle without race-based admissions, history shows.

THE CONTEXT: Race-based admission policies have been banned at public universities in California for decades, and school officials say they haven't been able to meet their diversity and equity goals despite spending huge sums on outreach and alternative standards since, per NPR.

StateLine reports Black and Hispanic enrollment plummeted in the first years after the ban in the state’s most elite campuses and fell less dramatically, and recovered more quickly, in the rest of the University of California system.

States, including Texas and Florida, tried to boost diversity by automatically accepting top performing students, regardless of SAT or ACT scores, from high schools statewide, with varying degrees of success.

Prior to the high court ruling, several Pennsylvania universities signed a pact declaring a commitment to diversity regardless of the outcome. Several more said the same after it, though roadmaps remained unclear.


"You're going to see government at all levels now work together. We are all now going to come together and do what’s necessary to support the rebuild."

Gov. Josh Shapiro vowing state support for the rebuilding of Harrisburg's historic Broad Street Market after a devastating fire; more below
Support vital journalism for Pennsylvania: The future of local news is in your hands. Donate now to Spotlight PA.
» Ward spox says Senate to tackle budget work, via @StephenJ_Caruso

» York Co. DA first GOP hopeful for state AG job, via YDR (paywall)

» Kevin Dellicker to run for U.S. Rep. Wild's seat again, via PoliticsPA

» Pa. appoints Comcast executive as state's new CIO, via StateScoop

» SCOTUS delivers blow to an election conspiracy theory, via WITF

» Poll: Pa. pot support drops, but within margin of error, via PennLive

A bald eagle at the Tionesta Recreation Area Campground in Tionesta, courtesy of @johnmcculloughphotography. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A bald eagle in profile as it sits perched on the branch of a tree.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.PRINCIPAL CALL: The Inquirer (paywall) reports it's not just teachers leaving the commonwealth: principals are also departing at abnormally high rates. A Penn State study found 15.4% of principals left Pennsylvania schools between 2021-22 and 2022-23, a 4.2 percentage-point jump that marks the state's highest annual exodus on record. Among the reasons: impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.RENT-TO-EVICTION: Insider took a look at rent-to-own company Home Partners and found eviction filings were more common than sales at properties in three major markets. One former tenant in Pennsylvania said she pressed Home Partners to reimburse her for the $4,000 she spent replacing foul carpets, which her realtor told her the company would do if she signed a non-disparagement clause. She refused.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.WRONG ADDRESS: The AP reports an error by Philadelphia police may have enabled a mass shooting that claimed four lives over the July Fourth holiday weekend there. Authorities said police responded to a 911 call about gunshots, now linked to the death of a fifth person, 44 hours before the other shootings but went to an address miles away. One city councilmember called it an "inexcusable mistake."

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.CHURCH SCHISM: The impacts of a schism inside the United Methodist Church in states like Pennsylvania are becoming clearer. The AP reports the Protestant denomination has lost more than 6,000 congregations, nearly one-fifth of the U.S. total, amid a row over theology and LGBTQ rights. Rev. Jay Therrell told the AP that the numbers of exiting churches are higher than expected.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.TREE OF LIFE: A Pittsburgh jury could begin deliberating over the fate of convicted Tree of Life gunman Robert Bowers this week, WESA reports. The penalty phase of the trial has focused on victim impacts and Bowers' upbringing and mental health. Bowers is facing the death penalty for the 2018 massacre. The defense argues his mental health makes him ineligible, as prosecutors use his own words against him.
Investigative journalism that gets results: Spotlight PA's vital work depends on you. Donate now.

BROAD STREET FIRE: Harrisburg’s historic Broad Street Market was gutted by fire Monday morning, TheBurg reports. Aerial shots show the extent of the damage. Gov. Shapiro got a firsthand look. Officials on Monday said the blaze was started by a ceiling fan malfunction, per PennLive.

CONCERT CALLS: Seventeen people, including one medic, were hospitalized during a weekend stop on Ed Sheeran's tour at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. Medics answered 37 calls there during the show, per WPXI.

BIRD SIGHTING: LNP (paywall) reports a heron-sized tropical bird known as a limpkin has been spotted in central Pennsylvania, possibly for the first time ever. The bird is typically found in Florida and southern Georgia.

BAD BRIDGES: According to WHTM, Pike County has the most bridges in need of repair in a state known for its aging spans. 

E-CARRIAGE: Philadelphia unveiled a horseless e-carriage in its July Fourth parade this year. The carriage is named Caroline, and it looks like this.

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Rectitude or certitude

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Dan A., Barbara F., Don H., Lynne E., Vicki U., Stacy S., Elaine C., Jon W., Daniel M., Kim C., James B., Susan N.-Z., Eric F., Dennis M., Kimberly D., Vanessa J., Elizabeth W., Craig E., William Z., Wendy A., David W., Tom M., Stanley J., and Joel S.
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