Dear Members of the Emmanuel College Community,
Today, in announcing decisions in two related cases, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that colleges and universities may no longer take an applicant’s race into account when making admissions decisions. Previously, institutions were permitted by law to weigh race as part of a holistic assessment of a number of attributes. However, these new Court decisions decree that, going forward, race may not be considered at all. It is informative to read the majority and dissenting opinions of the justices in these cases, which involved Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.
At Emmanuel, these decisions will in no way detract from our efforts to foster a community that welcomes, honors, and uplifts people of all backgrounds and identities.
Our pursuit of an open and authentically inclusive community stems from the values inherent in our Catholic educational mission. These values, which are informed and inspired by the global vision and Hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, include a belief in the dignity of every person, an embrace of the gift of diversity, and a commitment to advancing a more just and peaceful future for all. We also strive for diversity because we have seen the benefits it brings to our community. By working to enroll and hire people representing a broad range of experiences and points of view, we better reflect the pluralism of our modern society and create a richer and more dynamic environment for learning and growth.
In recent years especially, Emmanuel has renewed its commitments to a truly inclusive and pluralistic community, to a culture of anti-racism, and to a more equitable society. Still, we know we can and must do more. Accordingly, as we formulate a vision for the College in the coming years, our goals for cultivating diversity and a strong sense of belonging play a central role. Indeed, they are woven into all facets of our comprehensive strategic planning process and are informing objectives in key areas including academic programs, student life, and campus resources. In the area of admissions, we will continue to evaluate policies and practices to ensure that they align with the mission of the College, which values the experiences of all prospective students and the unique gifts they can bring to our community.
In the coming weeks, I will be joining Dr. Keith Lezama, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and members of the IDEAA Committee and CDEI Advisory Council to examine and assess the impact of today’s Court decisions. In the fall, we will hold listening sessions to give community members an opportunity to come together and give voice to their perspectives on the ramifications of these decisions for Emmanuel and for our nation.
While the Supreme Court’s actions serve as a reminder that we live in changing times, they also bring into relief the convictions that lie at the core of who we are and that continue to distinguish, animate, and unite our College community.
Mary K. Boyd, Ph.D.