On June 29, the Supreme Court of the United States effectively ended the practice of affirmative action in higher education. The court ruled, in a 237-page opinion, that Harvard College and the University of North Carolina could not use race in their admissions decisions. The court said that doing so was a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Roberta J. Cordano, president of Gallaudet University, said in a message to the university community on Friday, June 30 that “[this] news, a clear rejection of affirmative action, in many ways strikes at the very core of our university. In 1864, Gallaudet University was established by Congressional charter under President Abraham Lincoln, becoming the first university in the world established by a federal government specifically to provide higher education access to individuals who were largely underrepresented in society. One hundred fifty-nine years ago, Gallaudet represented a radically innovative idea, well ahead of its time: a university created to provide deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing people – as Lincoln said in his 1861 address to Congress – a fair chance in the race of life.”

President Cordano also stated that “Gallaudet has and always will continue to prioritize its Congressional mandate to serve students who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing, while considering multiple factors [in the admissions process] such as academic achievement, standardized test scores, community service, extracurricular activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation . . . Now, more than ever, is an ideal time to reaffirm our values and to recommit ourselves to the foundational principles that have powered Gallaudet University for the last 159 years.”

Read the full text of President Cordano’s statement.

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