The following message was sent to Middlebury students, faculty, and staff on June 29, 2023.
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the use of race as a “plus” factor in higher education admissions, a practice sometimes called affirmative action, ending an era of inclusive admissions as we know it.
While this decision necessitates changes for many colleges and universities including Middlebury College, the majority opinion concludes by saying that “nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.”
The litigation of these cases has included the voices of many institutions and organizations who filed amicus briefs in the cases, including Middlebury College. The justices’ decisions reflect thoughtful consideration of these briefs, many of which detailed the impact that these practices have had on students seeking admission to institutions of higher education. We will abide by the law as we stay true to our mission and commitment to create and maintain an inclusive community with full and equitable participation for all. As shared in our spring message about inclusive admissions, diverse communities are more creative and rigorous in their deliberations and able to fulfill their mission more effectively. That value is core to our mission, and we will continue to be mission driven in our recruitment of the best students from across the nation and the world.
In the coming weeks, members of the Senior Leadership Group and the Office of Admissions will implement the necessary steps to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision, based on the strategies and preparation work done by several working groups throughout this past academic year. We also will work with the National Association for College Admission Counseling, our colleagues in NESCAC, and other higher education partners to review the decision and determine next steps. This continues the work we began several months ago when the Supreme Court first heard oral arguments in cases involving Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
We will continue to keep our community updated as our plans develop.
Laurie L. Patton