From the Washington State Council of Presidents: Building an Inclusive Future

Washington’s Public Universities’ Pledge to Students of All Backgrounds

Several recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court seem to impact our students and the communities we serve. Those decisions have also left many students and employees wondering about the long-standing commitment public higher education institutions have had for students who have been historically under-represented in higher education, including students of color, first-gen students, and LGBTQ+ students.

Washington’s public, four-year institutions steadfastly uphold our commitment to fostering an environment of opportunity and belonging for all students, even in the wake of recent Supreme Court rulings, including the decision to overturn Harvard and North Carolina’s race-conscious admissions policies. We remain committed to bridge equity gaps and forge pathways that guide students from diverse backgrounds toward the industries driving our state and nation’s economy.

In Washington, where affirmative action programs have been prohibited in public hiring, education, and contracting since 1998, we have worked tirelessly to build and sustain inclusive campuses that are dedicated to fostering a college-going culture, dismantling barriers to higher education, and cultivating a sense of belonging for students encompassing all aspects of their identities and aspirations.

We remain resolute in fulfilling these commitments, both now and in the future. We consider one of our most important roles is to create equity of access for all Washingtonians. To this end, together, we:

  • Champion awareness about the important role of higher education in our society, to not only contribute creative, work-ready graduates to meet economic demand, but also to graduate individuals with a strong sense of and responsibility for civic engagement.
  • Advocate for and advance opportunities for increasing enrollments and retention and graduation rates, including a commitment to students through the Washington Guaranteed Admissions Program and making dual credit opportunities available to all students.
  • Remove obstacles in the college admissions process by providing standardized criteria across all our campuses to eliminate uncertainty in the process, embrace holistic admissions practices, implement test-optional admissions policies and multiple measures for assessment, and promote the transferability of college credits.
  • Work to minimize financial barriers for students, promote transparency in the cost of education and reduce student loan debt.
  • Build upon our long-standing partnerships with Washington’s community and technical colleges, as well as school districts, to offer unwavering support throughout students’ lifelong educational journeys.

We remain committed to providing high-quality education and educational experiences, and developing and cultivating an inclusive, supportive educational landscape for all students, today and in the future.

Jim Wohlpart, President
Central Washington University

Ana Mari Cauce, President
University of Washington

Shari McMahan, President
Eastern Washington University

Sabah Randhawa, President
Western Washington University

John Carmichael, President
The Evergreen State College

Kirk Schulz, President
Washington State University