Wellesley College Responds to Supreme Court Decision on Race-Conscious Admissions, Reiterates Commitment to Inclusive Excellence

Pendleton Hall with fall foliage
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Wellesley, Mass. – In the wake of today’s Supreme Court decision on race-conscious admissions, Wellesley College is reiterating its longstanding commitment to inclusive excellence.

“I believe the Court’s decision on race-conscious admissions is likely to have profound negative consequences for generations of students, for colleges and universities, and indeed for our nation,” Wellesley College President Paula A. Johnson said in a message to the college community.

“If we are to achieve the educational excellence we aspire to, our students must have the opportunity to learn from each other across diverse backgrounds and experiences, as they do today,” Johnson said. “Where will they learn to do that if not in our classrooms and on our campuses, where we seek to teach the next generation of leaders and citizens?”

Johnson noted that while Wellesley will comply with the Supreme Court’s decision, the college will also remain steadfast in its commitment to enroll the best students from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

“This is critical to our mission, our values, and our excellence as an academic institution,” she noted. “We know that students learn the most in an environment where they can study, live, and work among people whose life experiences are different from their own.”

In light of today’s ruling, Johnson outlined the steps that Wellesley will take to fulfill its commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence. Among them:
– Wellesley will continue its commitment to creating access through need-blind admission. “Without a doubt, our most powerful tool for expanding access is our commitment to meet 100% of a student’s calculated need,” Johnson said. “This has allowed us to enroll a diverse range of students and provide a transformational education for all.”
– Wellesley will seek to strengthen its partnerships with community-based organizations that work with diverse groups of students, and will increase virtual and in-person outreach to a wide array of prospective students.
– Prompted by the pandemic, Wellesley is piloting a test-optional application process which has led to a sharp increase in applications. The college is evaluating how this change has impacted student success; a final decision around implementation is expected next year.

Wellesley approaches the new challenges posed by the Supreme Court decision from a position of strength. The college offers need-blind financial aid for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. This means that Wellesley meets 100 percent of calculated financial aid for all admitted students. Nearly 60 percent of Wellesley’s students receive financial aid, and the average aid award exceeds $62,000. Fully 97 percent of Wellesley’s class of 2022 graduates were employed, accepted to graduate school, participating in a service or volunteer program, or serving in the military within six months after graduation.

“I want all of our students to know that they belong at Wellesley,” Johnson wrote in her community message, “we embrace the diversity of our community, across all measures, and we remain fully committed to lifting up all those on our campus and honoring their unique contributions.”

“As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent, ‘[S]ociety’s progress toward equality cannot be permanently halted.’ Wellesley will be part of that forward march,” Johnson said.