From WWU President Randhawa: What today's Supreme Court decision on affirmative action means for Western

Today, the Supreme Court struck down race-conscious college admissions decisions after hearing arguments against Harvard and the University of North Carolina last fall. The plaintiffs argued the admissions process discriminates against white and Asian American applicants by giving priority to Black, Hispanic, and Native American applicants. This decision overrules a 2003 ruling and more than 40 years of precedent upholding affirmative action in higher education.

Black, Native American, Hispanic, and Asian American student enrollment has surged in the past four decades, but despite these gains, students of color remain underrepresented on campuses nationwide. This decision jeopardizes affirmative action initiatives implemented after the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to give more equal opportunities to people disadvantaged by centuries of discrimination and the legacy of slavery.

The state of Washington and eight other states have been operating under similar restrictions for some time due to the passage of voter-approved initiatives effectively banning affirmative action at the state level since 1998.

While today’s Supreme Court ruling is a landmark decision, it will have little impact on Western’s ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive and diverse campus community. We remain committed to recruiting a diverse student body and workforce through outreach, networking, and marketing to ensure well-rounded pools of qualified applicants and by making standardized tests like SAT and ACT optional as part of a holistic admissions strategy that assesses each applicant’s unique experiences alongside more traditional academic measures. We will also continue to provide educational and co-curricular opportunities which support students in all aspects of their identities and aspirations.

The WWU Office of Equity and its Civil Rights and Title IX unit will continue to support both legal compliance and a spirit of equal opportunity as it relates to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran, or other protected veterans.

Above all else, Western remains steadfastly committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and welcoming campus environment that honors the humanity of each person.

Thank you for the role you all play in this critical work.



Sabah Randhawa
Western Washington University