Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action

Acting President Bowman affirms Kenyon’s commitment to access and inclusion in the wake of the Court’s ruling.


Dear members of the Kenyon community,

Yesterday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court prohibiting the consideration of race in college admissions, while not unexpected, is deeply disappointing for all of us who believe in the transformative power of living, learning and working in a diverse community. A Kenyon education depends on engaging a wide range of viewpoints, and that is only possible if the Kenyon community includes people from different backgrounds with richly varied experiences.

While it will take some time to fully understand the implications of the ruling, I can say with certainty that the decision does not alter Kenyon’s mission or our commitment to access and inclusion. In fact, it only strengthens our resolve. Each and every one of you is here because you contribute something important to the Kenyon community — a combination of talent and achievement, curiosity and wisdom informed by your unique lived experiences. This was true yesterday; it will be true tomorrow. 

By overturning more than four decades of precedent affirming that race may be considered as part of a holistic admissions review, the Court has made it more difficult for colleges and universities to fulfill their educational missions. It also dramatically understates the role race has historically played and continues to play in determining access to resources of all kinds. As Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson writes in the dissenting opinion: “deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”

Over the past several months, a team from across the College has been meeting to anticipate and plan for what this ruling might mean for how we do our work. We will provide updates as we further understand the impact of this ruling at Kenyon and within higher education more broadly.

As sobering as this news is, I take comfort in the fact that the Kenyon community — in Gambier and around the globe — is filled with extraordinary minds and generous hearts. Both will be required to confront and overcome this challenge.


Jeff Bowman
Acting President