Kenyon will adjust its admission forms to exclude questions that require the race and ethnicity of applicants in compliance with the Supreme Court’s June 29 ruling, which stated that both race-based affirmative action and race-conscious admissions in colleges are unconstitutional.
As a result of the ruling, the admissions committee will no longer know the race and ethnicity of applicants while reading essays. “Applications have been and will continue to be read thoroughly and deeply taking into consideration the applicant’s personal challenges and inspiration, as well as regional, school and family context with a full exploration of their academic and cocurricular experiences and personal attributes,” Dean of Admissions and Vice President for Enrollment Diane Anci wrote in an email to the Collegian.
Both Acting President Jeff Bowman and Anci expressed their belief in the importance of continued support for students with different backgrounds. Anci reassured students who were concerned about the future of programs that aim to increase diversity at the college, such as the Kenyon Educational Enrichment Program (KEEP) and STEM Scholars Program, that the programs will remain in place. Bowman highlighted how Kenyon College has increased its budget for financial aid in an effort to support students of all economic backgrounds in the past years.
Some students are concerned that the Supreme Court ruling will cause Kenyon’s student body to become less diverse. States such as California and Michigan dealt with bans on affirmative action years before the 2023 court ruling, and universities in California including the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have found it challenging to keep up their enrollment diversity. With several universities already struggling to foster racial diversity without affirmative action, students worry that Kenyon will face similar challenges.
Kenyon’s admissions staff is working to ensure that the College’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity is not negatively impacted by the Supreme Court ruling. The College will continue to run Camp 4 and KAP, two programs which allow prospective high-school students to earn college credit by taking Kenyon classes. Anci believes that these programs can also be used to explore different ways for Kenyon to expand its recruitment.
Although the Court’s ruling limits the ways the Kenyon admissions staff can diversify the campus through enrollment, the college is working to maintain an environment to foster diversity and encourage prospective students from all over to join the Kenyon community.
Kenyon’s mission for inclusivity is broader and more institutionally based. according to Bowman. “If we have a kind of value about accessibility and diversity on campus, that should be manifested in all kinds of places,” he said.