U.S. Supreme Court decision; our commitment to a community of belonging U.S. Supreme Court decision; our commitment to a community of belonging
Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling in two cases regarding the use of race in admissions of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in higher education. We are still reviewing the details of the ruling, but, based on our initial understanding, it appears that the Court has restricted the consideration of race with respect to admissions and scholarships. However, it appears we can consider an applicant’s discussion of how race has affected their life.
We will continue to review this decision as we prepare to fully comply with the law as described in today’s rulings.
At the same time, we will remain focused on our priority as an institution – to be a community of care, compassion and belonging for everyone, regardless of who they are and regardless of how someone defines their humanity and identity.
That is the right thing to do for our university. This is a special place – made even more special because we are filled with people committed to being an inclusive and welcoming community.
That is the right thing to do for the Commonwealth we were created to serve.
Our students come to us from 120 counties, 50 states and 100 countries. We are equipping them with the tools they need to compete in a complex, global economy amid a very diverse country and world. And we are preparing them for lives of meaning and purpose in a world that needs more people who can work as individuals and collectively to find common ground in places and spaces that often appear to be so riven by rancor and driven by division.
But the necessity to create a community of belonging extends beyond the classroom. Indeed, it permeates every corner and every facet of this campus and our mission.
Our patients come to us from all walks of life and backgrounds. They look to us for healing and hope. We are, increasingly, the place that Kentuckians turn to for the best of care in the worst of moments.
We serve in every corner and community of our state. And, more and more, our efforts to serve take place across the country and around the world because that is what our mission – as a flagship, land-grant institution – calls us to do.
And we are guided by a deeply embedded sense of ingenuity throughout our campus that inspires us to seek solutions to the most pressing challenges and questions of the day – no matter where those challenges and questions take us.
Our work in the classroom – and all that we are doing in every facet of our mission – is undergirded and strengthened by a commitment to being welcoming and inclusive, defined in the broadest possible terms as we seek to educate, accept, heal and serve the broadest range of people possible.
To be sure, these commitments and issues are often discussed as a matter of race. But they also include gender, identity, orientation, matters of faith, geography, age, military service and economic circumstances, among others.
All those backgrounds and experiences inform and shape who we are and how we interact with others.
And we are a better institution when we are committed to the values and principles of creating an inclusive community of belonging for everyone.
Those principles and those values were priorities for this institution yesterday.
They are our principles and our values today.
And they will be so tomorrow and, in the months, and years ahead.
What will change to some degree and in some approaches is how we go about that critical work on behalf of our community and the state we serve in alignment with our principles and in compliance with the law. We will figure that out, as with all things we do, together, thoughtfully, compassionately and guided by the mission that has been our north star for nearly 160 years – to advance this state in all that we do.
Thank you for your commitment to that ideal and mission. Thank you for your commitment to being a community that cares and where everyone belongs.