Dear Rice Community,
Like many other colleges and universities, Rice has closely followed the affirmative action cases before the Supreme Court and begun to prepare for various outcomes.
We are greatly disappointed that American universities will no longer be allowed to consider an applicant’s race as one of countless important factors in an admissions application. But, as one justice observed today, "Deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life." For that reason, we are more resolute than ever that every day at Rice, we will pursue and celebrate the excellence that a richly diverse student body, filled with its manifold experiences, brings to our community of scholars.
From a campus in the heart of the United States’ most diverse city, we will continue our efforts to create a class of students that is multifaceted in race, gender, ideology, ability, geography and special talents. Such diversity is critical in solving the most perplexing, challenging problems already known, and those we have not yet encountered.
Truly creative, innovative and transformative thinking and research does not happen in a vacuum or in monolithic environments. It happens when we invite, include, hear and challenge all voices, backgrounds and perspectives. Bringing people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences together in the classroom, dining halls, coffee shops and other places where students have deep discussions and discourse provides an opportunity to better understand each other and builds empathy — both of which are foundational to learning and leading. Fostering these intellectual habits takes commitment, time, energy and deep financial investment.
As we chart our path to tomorrow, we will adapt our strategies with great respect for the legal boundaries. We will also take inspiration in our mission and time-tested “RICE” values — responsibility, integrity, community and excellence, as well as courage, curiosity and a culture of care.
The law may change, but Rice’s commitment to diversity will not. Together, we will do everything we can — and everything we must — to maintain and expand the excellence, diversity and vibrancy of the Rice community.
President Reginald DesRoches
Provost Amy Dittmar