Princeton University gate. Photo by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications

President Eisgruber’s Statement on the Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision

Jul 11 2023
Office of Communications

The following statement by Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber was shared in an email to the University community on June 29, 2023.

Dear Princeton community,

Today the United States Supreme Court backed away from more than fifty years of established case law allowing colleges and universities to take race into account as one factor among many in a holistic admission process. Those precedents wisely recognized that colleges and universities must have some discretion to determine how best to find and attract the talent that exists in every sector of our society. Today’s decision narrows that discretion significantly.

This morning’s opinion is unwelcome and disappointing, but it is not unexpected. Princeton has been preparing for this possibility with assistance and advice from legal counsel. While today’s decision will make our work more difficult, we will work vigorously to preserve — and, indeed, grow — the diversity of our community while fully respecting the law as announced today.

I may have more to say after my colleagues and I have had an opportunity to examine the details of today’s decision. For now, I will reiterate principles and commitments fundamental to this University’s mission:

  • Talent exists in every sector of American society, and we have an obligation to attract exceptional people of every background and enable them to flourish on our campus.
  • Diversity benefits learning and scholarship by broadening the range of questions, perspectives, and experiences brought to bear on important topics throughout the University.
  • Our multicultural society requires that, in the words of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, “the path to leadership [must] be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity.”

For all these reasons and more, diversity is essential to the excellence of this University and to the future of our country and the world. Princeton will pursue it with energy, persistence, and a determination to succeed despite the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court in its regrettable decision today.

Christopher L. Eisgruber

President, Princeton University