UD affirms commitment to a diverse campus
When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling June 29 against race-based college admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, schools nationwide, including UD, moved to review their programs for compliance.
Unlike Harvard or UNC, the University of Dayton has not had a practice of considering race or ethnicity in its admission processes.
While the ruling specifically prohibits schools from using race as a factor in admissions, it did not address the many other ways race may be used at an institution. Schools like UD were left to decipher what is or is not permissible under the ruling or wait until future litigation provides more guidance.
However, one area was notably unambiguous in the court’s ruling: “Universities may continue to define their missions as they see fit.”
Said UD President Eric F. Spina in a June 29 statement, “I reaffirm the University of Dayton’s commitment to recruiting, enrolling, retaining and graduating talented students of all races and to do so within a diverse environment that ensures educational excellence for all students no matter their identity.”
“I reaffirm the University of Dayton’s commitment to recruiting, enrolling, retaining and graduating talented students of all races ...”
In a guidance letter for colleges and universities, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights stated schools can develop curricula or engage in activities that promote racially inclusive school communities: “We stand ready to support institutions that recognize that such diversity is core to their commitment to excellence, and that pursue lawful steps to promote diversity and full inclusion.”
This means University of Dayton programming to attract, retain and educate a diverse student population can continue.
Targeted outreach to prospective students and individualized messaging will continue. Programming that enhances a sense of belonging — among students as well as faculty and staff — will continue, as that programming is already open to all regardless of race or ethnicity.
Legacy admissions is the next area of preferential admission likely to come before the Supreme Court, said Candise Powell, associate general counsel for UD. UD does not offer admission based on a student’s family connection to the University.
While financial aid was not part of the June 29 Supreme Court ruling, the University is reviewing scholarship and aid designations to ensure all students with a similar need, for example, have access to similar resources.
“We’re confident we will be able to continue to admit and graduate a high-quality, diverse student body.”
In its June 29 statement, the University wrote, “As a Catholic, Marianist University we are called to embrace diversity as it enhances the excellence of learning environments and because every person has innate dignity and is made in the image and likeness of God. … We’re confident we will be able to continue to admit and graduate a high-quality, diverse student body.”