University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines and Senior Vice President and Provost Jennifer King Rice sent the following email to the campus community today:
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the use of race as a factor in the college application review process violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
While we do not yet know the full impact of this decision on our admission practices, we do know that our already-unassailable commitment to a diverse and inclusive campus must strengthen and grow within the bounds of the law. Our Enrollment Management team and campus administration have been preparing for this moment, and we are confident in our path forward.
At a time when students who have historically faced the greatest barriers to accessing higher education are being told that the admission process may become more challenging than ever, we have a clear, loud and true message: We will remain a national leader by encouraging and supporting students of all backgrounds as they apply, enroll and graduate from the University of Maryland. The educational value of campus diversity is one we will not sacrifice.
We prepare for change from a position of strength.
Students apply and come to the University of Maryland because they know that we offer a campus of people with diverse perspectives, cultures and experiences. Our recent classes have increased in racial diversity and, at the same time, our academic competitiveness has also increased. This allows us to be a place where all students have the opportunity to meet their full potential. We are proud of our graduation and retention rates for Black and African American, and Hispanic and Latinx students, which are among the highest in the nation. We are proud of the impact that our graduates have on our society. We are emphatic that these strengths will continue to attract a diverse student body and allow us to continue to ascend as an institution.
We are examining the immediate impact of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Needless to say, this decision is disappointing. Race has never been the determining factor here at the University of Maryland. Instead, it was one of 26 unique factors that we have considered in undergraduate admissions. It has been said that it’s impossible to dismantle centuries of racism without acknowledging and considering race in the decisions we make today. However, we remain optimistic that our campus will continue to attract and retain a diverse student body.
We believe strongly that diversity and excellence are intertwined.
Excellence and diversity are an essential part of the Terrapin experience. To ensure our community continues to live up to these expectations, in addition to other efforts, we will multiply our recruitment efforts focused on what Maryland offers its students—a commitment to inclusive excellence where all have the opportunity to succeed. Increasing the diversity of our applicant pool can have a tremendous impact on the diversity of our student body.
There is no getting around the fact that the role of race is changing in college admissions, but the University of Maryland will move forward with a bolstered commitment and a singular voice.