Skip to main content

Admissions at Harvard College

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

In a few hours, the Supreme Court will begin to hear oral arguments in our admissions case. Throughout my presidency, I have had opportunities to state the facts of the matter. I write now to share some personal reflections. 

Whatever promise we hold as individuals—for ourselves and for our world—is not predicated on narrowly structured measures of academic distinction. When Harvard assembles a class of undergraduates, it matters that they come from different social, economic, geographical, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. It matters that they come to our campus with varied academic interests and skill sets. Research and lived experience teach us that each student’s learning experience is enriched by encountering classmates who grew up in different circumstances. 

Harvard is not alone in believing that we are more than our test scores and that our unique perspectives bring a wealth of educational benefits to a high-quality educational enterprise. The legal battle we have waged, which reaches its apex today, is as important to other colleges and universities, and to society, as it is to us. Educators and scholars, civil rights organizers, historians, and education advocates stand with us. Leaders in business and technology stand with us. Former military officers and the heads of the nation’s service academies stand with us. Their voices—ringing out in amicus briefs—are part of a chorus that has risen across our campus and throughout our country in defense of forty years of legal precedent, as well as the history of the 14th Amendment.

Today, individuals of great skill will argue in favor of our cause inside the highest court in the land. This includes our colleagues from the University of North Carolina and the solicitor general of the United States. To all those who have worked hard to prepare us for today, thank you. To all those who have amplified and defended our argument on campus and elsewhere, thank you. We now await the final decision of the court with earnest anticipation. Whatever it is, we will honor the law while also remaining true to our values. May we continue to support and appreciate one another, as well as the institution we create together.