A Message about the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action

Dear University Community,

One of the things that first drew me to the University of Redlands was its clear and unequivocal stance on being an anti-racist institution, its focus on inclusive excellence, and its history of welcoming all communities from its very start.  Over the last two years, we have recommitted to those principles, and through our work on our strategic plan Forward Together, we developed, as a community, a list of values.  Those include Inclusivity, where we value different perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds as we work to build a strong multi-dimensional community, and Justice, where we promote fairness, integrity, liberty, and equity. 

Today the United States Supreme Court ruled that Harvard and the University of North Carolina’s consideration of race in their admissions programs violates the U.S. Constitution (Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina).  We are disappointed in the Court’s decision because it will unnecessarily impose new hurdles to creating a community of diverse learners and to the ongoing work of addressing the challenging history of our country and how that history has impacted communities and families.  

Despite this decision, we remain dedicated to fostering and maintaining a student body and faculty and staff who are diverse in their perspectives, experiences, cultures, backgrounds, abilities, talents, and contributions.  We believe this requires a community that is comprised of members of different races, ethnicities, and nationalities who, through their backgrounds and experiences, will uniquely contribute to our University.

The University has and will continue to comply with the law while also continuing to employ appropriate recruiting and admissions practices that are designed to remove barriers for students.  We will continue to build upon decisions and programs we have put into place to further those goals, a few examples of which are:

  • Adopting a test-optional admissions policy in 2020;
  • Utilizing our Hispanic Serving Institution status to pursue additional federal grant opportunities that will allow us to expand our current programs and identify new offerings for first-generation and other underrepresented students, in addition to the $2.9M five-year grant we just received;
  • Offering the Summer Bridge program, dedicated to easing the transition for first-generation, college-bound students;
  • Committing to the Redlands Promise to make college affordable and accessible; and
  • Recognizing and offering the need for multiple transfer pathways into our University for students seeking to complete a bachelor’s degree (residential, online, part-time, on-site at community colleges, etc.), significantly benefitting community college and non-traditional students.

Through the work of the Anti-racism Committee, our faculty focus on inclusive curricula, and the diversity-focused goals and objectives in Forward Together, we will continue to make strides in alignment with our values.

Finally, let me state clearly and emphatically that every person in our University community belongs and deserves to be here.  Each of you is a valued member of our community who makes us a better institution, and we appreciate you for who you are.  Together, we will continue our work to provide greater opportunities to those who have been historically excluded. 


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Krista L. Newkirk