Today, the United States Supreme Court issued rulings in two major cases that will impact the ability of colleges and universities, including Occidental College, to consider race as a factor in the admissions process for first-year and transfer students. 

For a great many in our community and in this country, these rulings are deeply disappointing. While our understanding of the full impact of these rulings is evolving, they appear to reverse or undermine decades of legal precedent. Race-conscious admissions practices have sought to promote diverse and multidimensional learning environments for the benefit of all students, despite the legacies of inequality that create barriers to higher education for talented and deserving students of color. These decisions remove an important tool, but do not blunt our resolve to continue supporting campus diversity through other legally available means.

We will conform our policies and practices to the extent necessary to comply with the Supreme Court’s decisions. As part of this effort, we will be working closely with our own legal counsel, the Board of Trustees, the Department of Education, and higher education associations at the local, state and federal levels.

As I said in my message on this topic in May, there is one thing that will not change: Occidental remains firmly committed to our historic mission, with its cornerstones of excellence, equity, community and service. These are bedrock values for the College that will continue to guide us.

No court decision can alter the fact that every Occidental student has earned their place here. Just as we will abide by the new legislation, we remain committed to the College’s longstanding practice of recruiting talented students from a wide range of backgrounds, holistically reviewing applicants and consistently enrolling a diverse, high-performing cohort of students. 

The entering Class of 2027 is no exception: those students all belong at Occidental and will do us and themselves proud. Their impressive and inspiring records of personal and academic achievement, representing diversity of all kinds, strengthens the College. We know each will make a positive impact on our campus and in the world.

We will continue to update the Occidental community as we learn more about the impact and implications of the court’s decision. I encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about this matter and for additional information as it becomes available.


Harry Elam
President, Occidental College



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