U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Race-Conscious Admissions

June 29, 2023

Aerial shot of GW's campus in Foggy Bottom

From the Office of the President

Dear Members of the George Washington University Community,

As a preeminent research institution, GW’s mission is to provide excellent educational programs, advance research and scholarship, and cultivate the next generation of leaders from all backgrounds. We work every day to create a learning environment that reflects the rich diversity of our nation and the world. We do this because we recognize the unique ways different people contribute in an academic setting, and we understand that when people with a diversity of thought, experiences, and backgrounds come together, we maximize our positive impact on society and bring better solutions to the world’s most urgent problems.

For decades, race-conscious admissions have played a pivotal role in advancing our institution's mission, enriching the educational experience of our students, and cultivating a vibrant tapestry of diversity that supports learning and personal growth.  Consideration of race in admissions as part of a holistic review of applications has long been part of GW’s approach to enrollment. This has helped our university and many others strengthen diversity on our campuses, broaden our impact, and prepare our graduates for the future. Until now, this approach has been permitted under the law.

This is why we write to you today deeply disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling.

Fostering a diverse community and expanding our impact now become more difficult. The court’s decision, which prohibits use of race as a factor in the admissions process, will likely affect how we enroll diverse and talented undergraduate and graduate students who make our vibrant community what it is today. It also threatens our students’ ability to thrive after graduation, as they work, live, and learn in an increasingly diverse world.

However, while many of us are disheartened by this ruling, we must not be discouraged. Diversity of our student body remains a core value of the university, and it is crucial to furthering inclusive excellence on our campuses. We are fortunate to be part of a community of scholars and leaders who affirm the value of a diverse community and remain committed to the important work of strengthening diversity, equity, and belonging.

Given the court’s ruling, university leadership will consider any necessary changes to our current practices, and we will operate within the constraints of the law. But we want to be clear that the values guiding us will remain: A diverse student body is essential to our mission, and it is a key element of a high-quality education that best prepares our students to succeed, thrive, and lead locally and globally.


Mark S. Wrighton

Ellen M. Granberg

From the desk of the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science

Dear Members of the GW Engineering Community,

I would like to echo President Wrighton's and President-elect Granberg's sentiments about the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on race-conscious admissions and about the important role diversity plays in advancing our institution's mission. We are committed to building an equitable and inclusive community and improving access to educational opportunities for all students.

At GW Engineering, we know that diversity of perspectives, identities, and lived experiences is critical to solving the world's most pressing problems. So despite this ruling, we are not dissuaded from our focus and our goals. We will continue to reaffirm the value of diversity, celebrate the contributions of every member of our community, and ensure that all voices are around the table as we innovate solutions for the grand challenges we face as a society - including and especially how we can create a better and more just world for all.


John Lach
GW Engineering