Wesleyan University will stop giving preferential treatment to applicants who are the children of alumni – joining a growing list of schools to end legacy admissions after the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action.
“We will still value the ongoing relationships that come from multi-generational Wesleyan attendance, but there will be no ‘bump’ in the selection process,” university President Michael Roth said in a statement Wednesday.
Family members of alumni will be admitted based on their own merits, he said.
Roth said legacy status has only played a “negligible role” in the admissions process for years. “Nevertheless, in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action, we believe it important to formally end admission preference for ‘legacy applicants,’” he said.
Last month, the Supreme Court said colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration as a specific basis for granting admission. But US military academies may continue taking race into consideration as a factor in admissions.
Roth suggested an end to legacy admissions “several years ago,” he said on “CNN This Morning” Thursday.
“We love having children of alumni who deserve to be on campus, and most of the ones who come do deserve to be there, but we don’t need to give preferential treatment to people who already had resources bestowed upon them,” Roth told CNN’s Abby Phillip.
“We want to find students who have not had advantages given to them but have enormous potential, have enormous talent, have great ambition and they are the ones who most deserve to be at schools like Wesleyan because they have shown the ability to overcome obstacles, get their work done and fulfill their ambitions,” he added.
Wesleyan, a highly selective liberal arts university in Connecticut, now joins an array of prestigious schools that have ended legacy admissions – including MIT, Amherst and Carnegie Mellon.
Roth defended Wesleyan’s application process, describing it as a “holistic” view of applicants.
“Our admission decision is based upon diverse facets of the individual’s history, talent, potential to contribute to the university and get the most out of a Wesleyan education,” the president said in his statement.
Roth listed several ways the university will pursue diversity, including geographical diversity within the US.
The school will also create an annual scholarship program to recruit and support a group of undergraduates from Africa, redouble efforts to recruit veterans, enhance community college recruiting, and increase financial aid support.
CNN’s Maria Sole Campinoti and Samantha Beech contributed to this report.