The Future of Affirmative Action in Higher Education

A Virtual Panel Discussion hosted by ARCS Foundation Oregon

November 14th from 11 am to 12:30 pm

In June 2023 the Supreme Court of the United States removed affirmative action from the admissions process in higher education. This decision will have wide-ranging effects on colleges and universities, students, communities of color, health care, and our workforce to name just a few.

What will American higher education look like in a Post-Affirmative Action world?

Join ARCS Foundation Oregon for a panel discussion featuring thought leaders and experts on affirmative action in higher education. Participants will learn about the impact of this ruling from multiple perspectives.

Featured Panelists:

Penny is a partner at Stoel Rives LLP, Portland’s largest law firm with more than 375 attorneys and staff. For more than twenty years, Penny has been putting her passion for the community to work by providing nonprofit organizations with strategic solutions that meet their needs. Recognized as the 2023 Oregon “Lawyer of the Year” in Nonprofits and Charities Law by Best Lawyers®, Penny helps clients navigate the complex laws and regulations in all aspects of governance, compliance and tax-related matters.

Scott joined Oregon State University in October 2015, serving as Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer since November 2022, following fourteen months of service in the interim position. In this role, Scott collaborates with partners across the university to design and lead the Office of Institutional Diversity’s portfolio of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Scott is responsible for guiding implementation of the university’s diversity strategic plan – Innovate & Integrate: Plan for Inclusive Excellence – and consulting with university leaders to create a more just and equitable Oregon State. He serves on the President’s Cabinet, and a variety of university-level committees and task forces.

An attorney by training, Scott has an enduring passion for pursuing justice through action. Prior to his career in higher education, he practiced law in San Francisco at an international law firm and maintained a pro bono practice with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area representing clients seeking asylum in the United States.

Scott is the son of an Indian immigrant and his husband is an associate professor at OSU. His approach to advancing equitable organizational transformation is informed by his intersecting identities as a multi-racial, gay man.

Scott earned his J.D. from UC Davis School of Law and his B.A. from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Emily Shults serves as Deputy General Counsel for Oregon Health & Science University. In that role she advises on the legal implications of a wide variety of issues facing an academic medical center. Prior to joining OHSU, Emily was a shareholder at the law firm of Bullard Law where she practiced employment law counseling and litigation for a number of health care clients.


As vice president for donor engagement and chief marketing officer at the Oregon State University Foundation, Kristin Watkins leads communications and marketing, annual giving programs, donor stewardship, and legislative advocacy efforts for the institutionally related foundation serving Oregon’s statewide land grant university. Prior to joining the OSU Foundation in 2014 she served as executive officer of the Portland Community College Foundation and associate vice president of college advancement at PCC, leading private philanthropy, strategic communications, and government and community relations for Oregon’s largest post-secondary education institution. She served two terms on the CASE District VIII Board of Directors and is especially proud of the CASE VIII Virginia Carter Smith Grand Crystal award the OSU Foundation team won in 2021 for its pandemic support initiative, Beavers Care. Kristin is a past board president of the social service agency Neighborhood House and currently serves on the boards of Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square and the Portland Metro Chamber. She has been an ARCS Foundation member since 2015.

Kristin graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Virginia Tech and earned a master’s degree in public affairs from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Adult and Higher Education at OSU, where her research explores the donor-funded scholarship system in public universities.

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