Published: June 29, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision today determining that race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina were unconstitutional. In the face of this momentous ruling, the University of Colorado Boulder remains resolute in its commitment to the advancement of students of all races and backgrounds because we know a diverse campus strengthens our mission and our democratic society.

Earlier this month, I reached out to our campus community about impending judicial decisions that we expect will affect our campus and society, and I joined CU system President Todd Saliman and other CU campus chancellors in reassuring our communities of our unwavering commitment to fostering a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment.

Today’s decision recognizes that universities may still consider the unique experiences of individual students, which might include how race has affected the applicant’s life. Those experiences can demonstrate an applicant's unique ability to contribute to the university. Accordingly, consistent with the principles of today’s ruling, CU Boulder will continue to:

  • Employ admission processes that consider the whole student and their ability to succeed in our academically rigorous and supportive environment.
  • Aggressively recruit students from minoritized backgrounds.
  • Award financial aid to students demonstrating academic promise and financial need.
  • Create welcoming living and learning communities.
  • Amplify the voices of marginalized communities.

Our Commitment

A strong democracy relies upon social mobility, civic engagement and a diverse, pluralistic society––all hallmarks of our country’s higher education system––and this legal decision underscores that we must recommit to our core values. Based on a well-established body of research, we know that an organizational commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion can improve critical thought, problem-solving and classroom engagement, reduce bias and promote professional development, civic engagement and leadership. I want you to know that I am committed to equity and to supporting the students that this ruling most directly impacts. Combined with our recent campus surveys, we are taking the following actions to address inequities:

  • Developing and implementing departmental strategies to promote equity and inclusion. This work is ongoing, and we will continually support opportunities for students, with a particular focus on those who have encountered structural barriers limiting their opportunities.
  • Expanding tuition and fee-free programs for Colorado residents, specifically the CU Promise and Southern Ute Scholarship
  • Building on long-standing support services and programs for first-generation and other students after they arrive on campus and seek communities to support their well-being and success.

Much work lies ahead for CU Boulder as we strive to make our community more diverse, equitable and inclusive for our students, faculty and staff, and existing initiatives and programs provide us with a model for the future. We can and will do more. My thanks to the campus community for being partners in this important work.

Philip DiStefano
CU Boulder Chancellor