June 29, 2023 

Dear Pitzer Community, 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today on two controversial cases involving affirmative action and college admissions. The rulings have reversed 40 years of legal precedent on affirmative action that has been integral in diversifying the demographic landscape of higher education and, importantly, of Pitzer College.  

The two cases involve the use of race in admissions practices at universities in the private (Harvard College) and public (University of North Carolina) sectors, and the Court’s decisions restrict the ability of schools like ours to consider race in evaluating candidates for admission. The rulings are effective immediately for the coming 2023−24 admission cycle and beyond. 

As disruptive and disappointing as these rulings are, they are not a surprise. The Court had already demonstrated its willingness to undo decades of legal precedent. Today’s rulings on affirmative action broadly conform to what most observers of higher education admissions had been anticipating, and Pitzer has been consulting with industry organizations and legal counsel as we prepare to continue to advance our educational mission in the context of this new legal framework. 

Pitzer, like Harvard and UNC, has a holistic admissions process. By considering numerous attributes of our applicants (including race), we seek to admit a diverse body of students who will become engaged, socially responsible citizens of the world. Our mission and core values focus on providing an academically rigorous, interdisciplinary, liberal arts education that emphasizes social justice, intercultural understanding, and environmental sustainability. Our shared community’s diversity, along racial as well as other lines, enhances this mission and our ability to deliver the highest quality education to all Pitzer students.  

Specifically, the use of affirmative action in admissions has provided Pitzer and other schools with an important way to bring a wider array of lived experiences and perspectives into our community. We have enhanced the teaching, learning, and research that takes place at Pitzer by bringing that diversity of perspectives to bear on the vitally important issues and questions we confront as a college and as a society.

The Pitzer Admission team, like its counterparts across the nation, has been assessing available options and will continue to hone those plans to enable us to continue pursuing our shared mission in a manner compatible with these rulings. While we will need to adapt our admission practices to this new legal context, we want to assure the entire Pitzer community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, and prospective students—that we remain ever and fully committed to and sharply focused on our mission and core values, which not only benefit from but depend upon a diverse student body to sustain, advance, and carry them out into the world to effect positive change.

This issue is a fluid, rapidly evolving area in higher education, and we will provide relevant information and updates as they become available. If you have any questions or concerns regarding these matters, please reach out to our Office of Admission and Financial Aid at [email protected]

Provida Futuri, 

Jill Klein P’15
Interim President 

Strom C. Thacker

Yvonne Berumen ’97
Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid