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Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action

Dear Emerson community members,

Earlier today, the US Supreme Court issued opinions on two important cases that address the consideration of race in college admissions, starting with the 2024 admission cycle. These cases were brought by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Before these decisions, the Supreme Court had repeatedly affirmed the right of colleges and universities to consider an applicant’s race as a limited factor within a holistic admissions review for the purpose of advancing campus diversity, considered a “compelling interest” for Emerson and other educational institutions. The core issue in the Harvard and UNC cases was whether this precedent supporting such a holistic consideration of race in the admissions process should be upheld, limited, or overturned.

At Emerson, we care deeply about all aspects of a prospective student’s background and story, and we want our community to be a welcoming place for all those who dream of joining us. While we are profoundly disappointed with the outcome of these Supreme Court cases, we reaffirm that equity, access, and social justice are core values of Emerson College. We remain committed to recruiting, cultivating and supporting students who reflect our diverse society. We will continue to pursue these goals to the best of our ability within the confines of the law.

In the days ahead, we will carefully review the Supreme Court’s decisions from legal and practical perspectives. We will seek expert guidance from our higher education partners about how the decisions will impact our admissions process.

Despite these rulings, Emerson College’s steadfast commitment to inclusive excellence will remain part of the foundation of what we value most at the College. We believe our diversity of people, ideas, thoughts, and activities makes Emerson a special place to study and work. Therefore, Emerson’s leadership will explore every legally permissible option to ensure we remain a diverse and inclusive community.

Respectfully yours,

Jay M. Bernhardt

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