June 30, 2023
Dear Morehouse Community and Friends,
I stand with you deeply disappointed, yet not surprised, by the United States Supreme Court’s decision to reject race-conscious Affirmative Action in college admissions. This is a disservice to our nation and its commitment to equity and equality. Affirmative Action has long been an essential tool in the fight against systemic inequalities experienced by marginalized communities and has expanded access to educational opportunities that contribute to creating a more just society. At Morehouse College, we hold diversity as a fundamental principle that enriches the educational experience for all students, and we are steadfast in our belief that every individual should have an equal chance to succeed and thrive regardless of their background or circumstances.
As a top feeder school for Black men entering prestigious graduate schools and MBA programs, this decision presents additional challenges for our students. At my alma mater, Yale University, the impact of this decision is already estimated to result in a 40% reduction in Black students. Attendance at selective predominately White colleges and universities too often over-determines the likelihood of gaining access to powerful and influential positions; one needs only to examine the resumes of our Supreme Court Justices and their clerks over the last 40 years to see the evidence. We can also find it by reviewing the educational pedigrees of those politicians applauding the decision. However, historically Black colleges and universities such as Morehouse College are unparalleled in their track records of producing individuals who have gone on to lead in every sector of our society.
For those wondering, “What do we do now?” in the face of this decision, it is not about creating new programs or organizations but scaling and adequately resourcing those that have a legacy and proven track record of providing solutions to inequality and increasing diversity in every sector of national life. The question we must answer is whether the philanthropists, foundations, and corporations that declared a commitment to address racial equity will invest at the highest levels to scale and resource HBCUs such as Morehouse in ways comparable to what is frequently done for predominantly White institutions. Morehouse and schools such as Yale and Harvard have much in common, judging by the contributions and achievements of their graduates. The primary differences can be attributed to the size of their endowments and unrestricted giving.
At Morehouse, this ruling compels us to redouble our efforts in programming and partnerships that advance social justice and equal access to education and opportunity. We remain resolute in our mission, guided by our 156-year legacy, and driven by our unwavering belief in the transformative power of education and equitable access:
- We will continue cultivating the current and next generation of business leaders from the Morehouse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center.
- We will continue to develop Black male educators and administrators through our Center for Excellence in Education.
- We will continue developing the next STEM leaders in our Center for Broadening Participation in Computing.
- We will continue offering training on race and biases for for-profit and non-profit companies and organizations through our National Training Institute on Race and Equity.
- We will continue to provide pathways to a college degree for men who started their higher education journeys but could not finish due to life’s circumstances through Morehouse Online.
- We will continue to send our young men on domestic and international educational and service trips through the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership.
As a nation, we must not only engage in thoughtful and constructive conversations about creating inclusive pathways for all individuals seeking higher education but also take action with our time and our wallets to ensure our discussions become sustainable realities with real impact. Morehouse College is committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment that prepares its students to become leaders who will address the complex challenges of our time. We remain uncompromising in our dedication to providing educational opportunities to talented young minds from all walks of life while ensuring they have the resources and support necessary to excel academically in a space specifically designed for their development into men with disciplined minds who live lives of leadership and service.
Morehouse, as an institution and a community, will continue to carry its torch and “be the light” by harnessing the potential of education to dismantle barriers, bridge divides, and forge a future where equal opportunity prevails for all. We welcome you to join us in this endeavor.
Et Facta Est Lux,
President David A. Thomas, Ph.D.