Paul Alivisatos, President, The University of Chicago


Upholding the Value of Diversity

We write to reaffirm the important value of diversity that has helped underpin and enable the environment of rigorous research and learning that characterizes the University of Chicago. 

This principle is as vital now as ever. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in cases involving the University of North Carolina and Harvard University concerning whether universities may consider the race of student applicants as a factor in admissions decisions. 

In light of this decision, this is an important time to reflect on the progress the University of Chicago has made in welcoming students of all backgrounds, and to commit ourselves to continuing this work. 

We consider diversity to be a strength—and, indeed, foundational to our academic success. Advancing rigorous inquiry requires welcoming a diversity of perspectives and ideas, as well as a diversity of life experiences. Bringing together people from the broadest possible range of backgrounds is often the first step toward realizing field-defining scholarship and providing a transformative education for our students by fostering a culture that reveres open discourse and constant questioning. In recent decades, the University has succeeded in bringing together a community of students that is increasingly diverse. This has made us stronger and helped to foster an environment of intellectual challenge that lives up to the University’s founding values. We as a university are committed to building and supporting this diversity of perspectives and experiences.

For these reasons, the University of Chicago had joined with other universities in filing amicus briefs for the recent case that highlighted the profound importance of student body diversity, and argued that it is at the core of our educational mission. We will continue working to advance these ideals. 

We understand that changes in the law can bring uncertainty and concern. Today’s ruling is likely to bring a wide range of reactions on our campus. The University is committed to upholding an environment where such perspectives can be freely expressed and debated, with deep support for people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs. We are grateful for your engagement to ensure that these values continue to thrive here.

Paul Alivisatos,
President, The University of Chicago