Committee on Race-Neutral Strategies
The Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions (“Advisory Committee”), a standing committee of the faculty chartered under the Faculty Code of University Government, hereby establishes the Committee on Race-Neutral Strategies (“Committee”).
The Committee is charged:
1. To consider whether there are workable race-neutral strategies and practices that the Office of Undergraduate Admissions could employ in evaluating applications for undergraduate admission;
2. To advise the Office of Undergraduate Admissions about these strategies and practices; and
3. To report to the Advisory Committee on the Committee’s consideration of specific race-neutral strategies approximately every two years. In addition, the Committee will, as appropriate, provide information regarding its assessments and recommendations to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, the Chancellor, and the Board of Trustees.
The Committee’s work is essential given the guidance the Supreme Court has offered regarding the consideration of race in admissions assessments. The adoption of race-conscious admissions practices requires adherence to standards of strict scrutiny and narrow tailoring. In its decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court explained that those standards, among other things, require institutions to give “serious, good faith consideration [to] workable race-neutral alternatives that will achieve the diversity” sought by the University. The Court also made clear that universities are not required to adopt any alternative that “would require a dramatic sacrifice of diversity, the academic quality of all admitted students, or both.” In its decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court reiterated that the University’s serious, good faith consideration of race-neutral alternatives is “necessary” and explained that “The reviewing court must ultimately be satisfied that no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity. If a nonracial approach . . . could promote the substantial interest about as well and at tolerable administrative expense, then the university may not consider race.”
The Committee will be briefed about the University’s diversity initiatives and objectives. With that context, the Committee will evaluate whether there are race-neutral alternatives that would allow the University to achieve these objectives without sacrificing the academic quality of the entering class or imposing intolerable administrative expense. This evaluation will include consideration of information gleaned from University leaders, faculty members, and students; whether existing admissions practices are necessary to help the University meet its diversity interests and objectives; and what, if any, adjustments to those practices are warranted.
In order to assure that the Committee’s evaluation is informed by existing legal standards and guidance and the practices of the University’s peer institutions, the Committee will stay abreast of legal developments as well as best practices in undergraduate admissions at comparable highly selective universities.