Reinforcing our commitment to inclusion

06-24-2016

There is no question that racial diversity on college and university campuses is essential for delivering a world-class education, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin will allow many institutions across America to continue their efforts to pursue the educational benefits that “flow from student body diversity” with greater clarity and confidence as a result of the court’s ruling.

It is important to note that public universities in Michigan are not affected by the high court’s ruling due to Michigan’s voter-approved constitutional prohibition of the use of race in admission considerations.

Inclusion is one of Michigan State’s core values, which means providing all who live, learn, and work at the university the opportunity to actively participate in a vibrant, intellectual community that offers a broad range of ideas and perspectives. Embracing the opportunity to learn from others is part of an individual’s growth as a scholar-citizen of the sort we strive to develop. Michigan State welcomes a full spectrum of experiences, viewpoints, and intellectual approaches in our campus community because it enriches the conversation, even as it challenges us to grow and think differently.

We are proud of Michigan State’s diverse campus. In 2015, minority students constituted 21.4 percent of total undergraduate enrollment and among the entering class, 24.5 percent were students of color, up from 19.2 percent in 2006.

Today our graduates enter a connected and fast-changing world, one where they will almost certainly be living among and working with people from different racial and cultural backgrounds. Aside from the obvious social benefits to individuals and communities, understanding cultural differences and being able to work with those from different backgrounds are competencies that employers tell us they value.

So I join my colleagues across the country in applauding the Supreme Court’s decision, expecting that it will improve access to higher education for diverse populations and certain that it is good for higher education in the United States.

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