RWU Affirms Commitment to Building a Diverse Community

President Ioannis Miaoulis shares a message to the RWU community following the Supreme Court's decision on race-conscious admission.

The Supreme Court of the United States.
The Supreme Court of the United States.

Dear RWU community,

I am writing about today’s Supreme Court decision, which effectively prevents the consideration of race in the college admission process.

It is essential to the mission of Roger Williams University to foster a diverse student body, faculty and staff and to ensure a sense of belonging, inclusion and a thriving community that values and respects diverse perspectives and ideas. While we will abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, the decision does not change who we are as a university or the diverse community we are working to build and aspire to become. RWU remains committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse student community, and we will continue to uphold our values and commitments in our efforts.

Social justice is in RWU’s DNA. It is embedded in our undergraduate general education curriculum with specific DEI learning outcomes, and in the justice-driven work of our students and faculty through community-engaged projects, research, advocacy and legal practice, across our undergraduate majors, graduate programs, School of Law, and University College. It is the driving force of the Roger Pledge, the university’s ongoing antiracism campaign which calls on every one of us to step up as an ally and advocate for our BIPOC community. It is further why we implemented a comprehensive bias training program for our senior leadership, managers and supervisors across the university. It is why all new first-year, transfer and graduate students participate in our required “DEI at RWU” program and why we asked our students to take a Diverse Learning Environments survey to evaluate our inclusive practices, learning outcomes and campus climate, so we can keep making progress.

Diversity, equity, inclusion and access are the foundation of our institutional operations and a central tenet within RWU’s Strategic Action Plan and Equity Action Plan. Building a student and employee community that reflects the diversity of our nation is a part of who we are and our work in becoming an antiracist institution. Access to higher education is transformational because it opens doors that lead to better lives and career opportunities, and thus is vital to the health of our society. Part of our mission as a higher education institution is to create the learning environment our students need, exposing them to new ideas and multiple perspectives, so they become leaders and engaged citizens equipped with a diversity and depth of knowledge, experiences, and critical thinking and listening skills to help confront and solve the world’s urgent problems.

In the weeks ahead, we will come together as a university to support each other. We will be sharing details soon for various ways we will come together in support and solidarity to discuss the impact of this ruling. The first opportunity will be a Breathe & Belong community forum, to which all are invited, on Thursday, July 6 at 1:00 p.m. in the Outdoor Classroom space behind the Marine and Natural Sciences (MNS) building; if there is inclement weather, it will be held in the all-purpose space in the Intercultural Center. The Breathe & Be session will be an opportunity to come together in community to process the SCOTUS decision and talk about its impact personally and professionally, including what it may mean for the work we do. We will hold another Breathe & Be session at the beginning of the fall semester for those who can’t join us on the Bristol campus on July 6.