This morning, the Supreme Court ruled on two related cases challenging race-conscious admissions in higher education. For decades, universities like Penn have been permitted to assemble a diverse class by considering an applicant’s race as one factor among many in their holistic admissions review process. Today’s ruling changes this by declaring the race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina unlawful under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
In these first hours following the release of these rulings, we have two messages. First, we are studying the Court’s opinion to ensure that we admit students in compliance with the law. Second, we remain firm in our belief that our academic community is at its best when it is diverse across many dimensions.
At Penn, our students join the most vibrant and diverse community they may ever know. This type of community is essential to their preparation to lead in a pluralistic, global society and to contribute to the creation of knowledge, all at the highest levels of excellence. To do this, our students must live and learn with others who, owing to their paths through life, bring many and varied perspectives, experiences, personal qualities, interests, ambitions, and insights.
This decision will require changes in our admissions practices. But our values and beliefs will not change. Bringing together individuals who have wide-ranging experiences that inform their approach to their time at Penn is fundamental to excellent teaching, learning, and research. In full compliance with the Supreme Court’s decision, we will seek ways to admit individual students who will contribute to the kind of exceptional community that is essential to Penn’s educational mission.