Office of the President

We Stand With Our Students

June 29, 2023

Dear Campus Community, 

Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in two closely watched lawsuits affecting higher education – Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. President and Fellows of Harvard University and SFFA v. University of North Carolina. The court’s ruling struck down the rights of U.S. colleges and universities to consider race in their admissions processes.  

I join California State University Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester, University of California President Michael V. Drake and California Community Colleges Chancellor Sonya Christian in lamenting this decision, which, while widely anticipated, is nonetheless profoundly counter to the values of Cal Poly Pomona and abhorrent to all of us who work every day to advance opportunity, equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Today’s ruling codifies at the federal level what we in California have experienced for 27 years. In 1996, Californians passed Proposition 209, which prohibited the CSU and other state entities from using race, ethnicity or sex as criteria in public employment, public contracting and public education. As a result, public higher education institutions in California have developed alternate ways to promote equitable access to our campuses, such as holistic application review and plans that guarantee admission to top high school students.  

We do not anticipate that the methods used by the CSU and Cal Poly Pomona will be changed by the Supreme Court ruling. We will continue to seek out students with collegiate promise who face cultural, geographical, physical, educational, financial or personal barriers and assist them in achieving their educational and career goals. We will continue to use all efforts within our legal capability to enroll, support and graduate a diverse student body.  

While this ruling may feel like a step backward in terms of broadening access to higher education, it is also a call to learning and ultimately to action. To understand the ways that a diverse, multicultural learning community benefits all of us, I invite you to read The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee, the Common Read book for 2023-24.  

Cal Poly Pomona’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion remains firm and unwavering.  

We will not pause our work to help anyone who dreams of success achieve it. 


Soraya M. Coley, Ph.D.