President’s message regarding Supreme Court ruling on race-conscious university admissions
Dear members of our Stanford community:
Each year, Stanford welcomes a new class of accomplished and inspiring undergraduate and graduate students, from across the nation and around the world. Each brings to our community a unique set of insights and ideas. And, they represent remarkable diversity, in all dimensions.
Diversity of thought, background, identity, and experience is critical to the mission of our university, which is to generate and transmit knowledge with the goal of benefiting our world and its people.
For that reason, I am deeply disappointed by today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upends the long-standing practice of race-conscious university admissions to help achieve a diverse student body. I know that many of you in our community are disheartened. Now, our task is to respond in ways that allow Stanford to continue expanding opportunity and fulfilling our mission in a diverse and changing world.
Stanford has long supported race-conscious admissions as a means of obtaining the educational benefits of a diverse student body. Over the years, the ability to consider race as one part of a holistic review of each applicant has helped to foster a campus environment at Stanford that is diverse in many ways, where people of varied backgrounds and experiences are able to learn from one another and contribute to the creation of knowledge. We articulated these views forcefully in the amicus brief that Stanford submitted supporting Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
We now find ourselves in a new legal environment. We will adjust to this new environment, in a manner that conforms with the law and that also preserves our commitment to an educational and research environment whose excellence is fostered by diversity in all forms.
It will take time for the university to thoroughly process the court’s ruling and its potential impacts. This means that we do not have answers today to all of the questions you may have. However, we can share the following, based on our preliminary assessment.
One immediate area of focus in admissions will be an expansion of our existing outreach efforts to potential applicants. We want excellent students from all backgrounds, including those from historically underrepresented ones, to know about and consider Stanford.
We also will continue to employ a holistic review of applicants. This holistic review will continue to evaluate each student as a whole and individual person, and in the context of their life experiences.
I know there will be many questions about whether Stanford intends to make other kinds of adjustments to the selection criteria and practices used in its admissions processes, both in its centralized undergraduate admissions and in its decentralized graduate admissions. We don’t have those answers today. Faculty representatives, admissions offices, and legal counsel will be working to assess next steps under the ruling. Faculty who have purview over admissions policies will play a central role in this work. And, we welcome the voices of all in our community, including our students, as this work moves ahead.
To our students and future prospective students, I want to say the following: Stanford will continue seeking, through legally permissible means, the broadly diverse student body that will benefit your educational experience and preparation for success in the world, and that will benefit our mission of generating knowledge. Stanford remains an institution passionately dedicated to advancing opportunity; to being a home for students from all backgrounds; and to doing the work of learning, researching, and partnering with others that will help make progress on the many pressing challenges in our world.