Reaction poured in both locally and nationally Thursday after the historic ruling from the Supreme Court that struck down affirmative action in college admissions. 

Harvard University was one of the schools at the center of the case, which came after a group of Asian American applicants rejected from the school filed a lawsuit challenging Harvard’s admissions practices.

With a longstanding precedent for affirmative action overturned, some students shared their thoughts with 7NEWS. 

“It might have been a tiny bit necessary but I feel like colleges should still try to have a representative group of all the people,” said Mia Mozzoni. 

“This is impacting my community, the Latino community, so many other student organizations on campus and I think we’re all just trying to process what just happened,” said Agustin Leon Saenz.

The ruling means schools cannot use race when considering a student’s application.

Harvard, itself, responded. It said it has defended its admission system for almost a decade, adding that two federal courts had ruled the system fully complied with longstanding precedent.

“The Supreme Court’s decision on college and university admissions will change how we pursue the educational benefits of diversity but our commitment to that work remains steadfast,” said Harvard President-Elect Claudine Gay in a recorded message. “It’s essential to who we are and the mission that we are here to advance.”

Harvard said, in the coming weeks and months, it will be working to figure out how to remain true to its essential values while also trying to be consistent with the new precedent set by Wednesday’s court ruling.

WATCH: Harvard students react to affirmative action ruling

In the meantime, a member of the group Students for Fair Admissions, which filed the lawsuit at the center of the Supreme Court’s ruling, shared his reaction. 

“Today’s decision has started a new chapter in the saga in the history of Asian Americans in this country,” said Calvin Yang, who was previously denied admission to Harvard. “It marks the promise of a new beginning, a resurgence of the principles of the American dream and a return to the egalitarian principles for all in this shining city on the hill.”

Other Students for Fair Admissions members said the ruling means future generations will now be judges solely on their achievements and merits.

Elsewhere, leaders including Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey spoke out. 

Markey said the ruling is an injustice and will make it more difficult to diversify campuses. 

“The Supreme Court made it harder to achieve education on equal terms in the United States of America,” he said. “They made it harder for Black, Latino, indigenous, Asian American and Pacific Islanders to achieve their dream of attending one of the many prestigious colleges that we have here in Massachusetts and across our country.”

“In the Commonwealth, our values and our commitment to progress and continued representation in education remain unshakable,” said Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey.

The decision, “while disappointing,” Healey added, “will not change our commitment to these students.” 

“We have an imperative to make sure our schools reflect our communities,” Healey said.

In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu praised the decision, saying “New Hampshire banned affirmative action in higher education over a decade ago, and I am glad to see the Supreme Court follow our lead.”

While focused on Harvard and the University of North Carolina, the ruling is going to have a significant impact on all colleges around Massachusetts. 

At Dean College in Franklin, attorney and college President Kenneth Elmore said “We’re going to have to signal to people as to whether or not we welcome them here and welcome their experiences here.”

Now that the Supreme Court has struck down affirmative action in colleges and universities, Elmore said the aforementioned mission has become more challenging.

“A college can decide that ‘We’re just gonna line up SAT scores and grade point averages and make a cut off and make a decision from there,’” Elmore said. “That may not get you as diverse of a circumstance as you want.”

Elmore said he is disappointed by the decision, saying higher education institutions will now need to figure out how to achieve the goal of having a diverse student body.

That said, Elmore said there is some language in the Supreme Court’s ruling that may help.

“While it says the Constitution is about absolute equality, it also says, though, that in an admissions process, there is some room for a candidate to talk about their experience with race in the society and so, I’m sure we will find a way to think this through,” Elmore said. 

He continued, saying it’s important that schools work to have diversity to help allow all students to grow.

“This is also about us not acknowledging we live in racially segregated societies and our experiences tend to be very racially segregated,” Elmore said. “And the time for you to come to college should be a time where you start to explore that and you challenge that.”

In addition to his roles as Dean’s president and as an attorney, Elmore is also a former state lawmaker familiar with the legal process. He said he expects challenges to the Supreme Court’s ruling, adding that he will be watching such developments closely.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox