Chancellor’s message: Diversity is vital to our democracy UNC-Chapel Hill

Dear Carolina community,

It’s easy to think that the issues we face every day are unique and unique to Chapel Hill. However, around our country, colleges and universities face some of the same issues that we do. Last week, we gathered with university presidents and chancellors at the Association of American Universities’ fall conference, and what struck me was how similar we were. We’ve had a robust discussion on critical technologies, speech and safety, front and center, and protection on all campuses across the country. I came away from those meetings with a greater understanding of the many opportunities ahead of us – to ensure our position as a leading international public research university in the country.

On Monday morning, Carolina will stand before the United States Supreme Court in the national spotlight, representing all of higher education, arguing that diversity on campus is essential to educating American citizens. We are working on that issue not only at UNC-Chapel Hill, but at thousands of colleges and universities that have worked for decades to provide higher education opportunities for all Americans who want to go to college.

Supreme Court justices are weighing whether campuses can continue to use race as one factor in many admissions decisions. The plaintiff, a private firm, asked the court to overturn that longstanding precedent.

I wrote a guest opinion column for the News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer this weekend on the main implications of this case for our nation and the Carolinas. I hope you will take a moment to read it.

We must ensure that our graduates are prepared to embrace the incredible diversity of this country in order to honor the university charter’s responsibility to “prepare a rising generation” for democracy. In Carolina, we are building better citizens, and if we remove race from among the many factors we consider in admissions decisions, we jeopardize that effort. Our students are preparing to enter diverse workforces, and they’ll be challenged on group projects, or in their dorm rooms, with people with different perspectives and life experiences. As one of our students eloquently put it at a recent event, “The diversity of my classmates breathes life into the classroom and the curriculum.

I am heading to Washington DC with our lawyers to continue our preparations for tomorrow’s court session. I encourage you to visit our website dedicated to this issue at admissionslawsuit.unc.edu. We will keep you informed of future changes.

your sincerely

Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Chancellor

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