June 29, 2023

NYU Community Members,

We echo the letter from President Andy Hamilton, President-Designee Linda Mills, and Interim Provost Gigi Dopico. While we anticipated the Supreme Court’s ruling in the cases involving admissions practices at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, there is a wide range of reactions and responses, including many feeling angered, disappointed, and concerned about what this means for higher education and beyond. In the dissenting opinion, one of the justices wrote, “this Court…rolls back decades of precedent and momentous progress. In so holding, the Court cements a superficial rule of [color-evasiveness] as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society where race has always mattered and continues to matter.”

Research and data overwhelmingly demonstrate that our diverse lived experiences are not and have not been equitable and that race as a lived experience continues to “matter” regarding access and opportunity. Additionally, research and data overwhelmingly demonstrate the compelling interests and benefits of the diversity of our lived experiences in all forms, which are significant and central to academic excellence, advancing innovation and entrepreneurship, and creating new knowledge across disciplines and fields.

Diversity of experiences improves research, administrative and business outcomes, innovation, and all other aspects of organizational excellence as they (organizations and institutions) face complex challenges in the advanced knowledge economy. Furthermore, without diverse groups of individuals participating in scholarship, researchers cannot apply their results to all people equitably, and disparities across areas such as education, health, work, etc., while continuing to exist, may even worsen due to such exclusions. Studies also show that students who learn about different cultures and are educated about differences feel more comfortable navigating these differences later in life. These experiences allow individuals to interact across a wider range of social groups and feel more confident interacting with others. Unfortunately, data across disciplines and fields also show that inequality and inequities across the US and beyond continue to be significant, and we at NYU remain committed to the research and scholarship that provide guidance, tools, and pathways for us to continue to address disparities that are based on numerous factors.

With this ruling, we are faced with the critical opportunity to reaffirm our dedication, uphold our commitment to access and equity across our institution, and further strengthen our commitment to academic excellence that thrives on diverse lived experiences, cultures, perspectives, scholarly activities, research, and knowledge production. We know there are and will continue to be debates and more information about the meaning and impact of the ruling. Even as we get more clarity about the meaning of this ruling, we will continue our commitments to equity and inclusion for all members of our community. Working with our Office of General Counsel and other partners across higher education over the coming weeks and months will allow us to get further guidance on next steps as we move forward with our work through legally permissible means, and we will continue to advance academic and administrative excellence in research, scholarship, and in student and alumni outreach and engagement across our vast globally diverse communities. 

In collaboration with Global Spiritual Life, Student Affairs, and Human Resources, OGI will host processing spaces on Tuesday, July 11, at 4:15 p.m. ET for faculty and staff and at 5:15 p.m. ET for students.

In partnership with the Office of the Provost, we will host a panel discussion—The Work Ahead: Conversations on Civil Rights and Affirmative Action series on Thursday, July 27, at 4:00 p.m. ET. EducationCounsel’s managing partner and co-founder, Art Coleman, will join us for a keynote and community conversation about “the aftermath” of the ruling. 

Please visit our webpage and subscribe to our digest for further updates about ongoing initiatives, resources, toolkits, and gatherings across campus for students, faculty, staff, and administrators. We hope everyone continues to take good care, and please avail yourself of the vast and many resources in OGI and across our University.

In community,

Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation