On June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed decades of legal precedent in reversing universities’ abilities to be race conscious in considering admissions. The Daily Campus spoke to Vern Granger, the University of Connecticut Director of Undergraduate Admissions, to comment on various aspects of university admissions and how the department will move forward in the face of the Supreme Court decision.
When the decision was initially released, University President Radenka Maric released a statement detailing the university’s disappointment in the decision.
“We know that the best way to build a vibrant and diverse student body is to use the tested, reliable methodology of the holistic admissions process. In states where race-conscious admissions processes have been banned, such as Michigan and California, universities have struggled to maintain diverse student bodies, with the number of historically underrepresented applicants dropping precipitously since such bans were adopted,” Maric said.
Maric added how the goals of the university will not change in the face of the decision, but did not outline actions to ensure this.
“We will continue to grow and adapt to effectively build on these commitments, today’s decision notwithstanding. As much as anything, only time will allow us to understand the full impact today’s decision will have on UConn and the most effective strategies to mitigate it. But as I told the community when the cases were heard in October, no matter what, our commitment to vital, unifying, and transformative diversity will remain one of our core values at UConn, and our actions – in admissions, in academics, in culture – will match our values. We have come too far as a university and as a country – and have further to go still – to abandon the progress which has been so painstakingly made,” Maric said.
When asked about actions the Admissions Department will take to ensure the Class of 2028 is able to keep UConn’s current level of diversity on campus, Granger outlined an admissions policy that emphasizes lived experiences and outreach.
“We always used a holistic review of applications, and decisions were never based solely on the race of an applicant. While the race of an applicant will not be known in our application review, we will continue to consider their lived experiences as part of our holistic review. In addition, Admissions will continue its outreach and recruitment with the goal of attracting a diverse pool of applicants,” Granger said.
“We always used a holistic review of applications, and decisions were never based solely on the race of an applicant. While the race of an applicant will not be known in our application review, we will continue to consider their lived experiences as part of our holistic review. In addition, Admissions will continue its outreach and recruitment with the goal of attracting a diverse pool of applicants,”Vern Granger, the University of Connecticut Director of Undergraduate Admissions.
In addition, Granger described how the Admissions Department selects from the vast applicant pool of qualified students, and how it chooses how many of these applicants to admit.
“UConn conducts a holistic review of every application, which means admission decisions are not based on one sole factor. We will consider the rigor of an applicant’s curriculum and academic performance, along with their involvement and personal qualities,” Granger said.
When asked specifically how the Admissions Department chooses the final number of admitted students, with considerations of crowded dorms or classrooms, Granger described a system that looks backward in order to move forward.
“We enrolled a Storrs first-year class of approximately 4,200 students. We determine the number of students necessary to enroll a class size based on historical models and application composition,” Granger said.
Finally, when asked if the Admissions Department ever experienced a sudden change of policy, such as this decision, Granger said that even during the pandemic there was not a disruption.
“Back in 2020, our decisions were released in early March, so there was no real impact on our admission process as a result of the pandemic,” Granger said.