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Affirming Diversity, Access and Inclusion at UC Merced

June 29, 2023

To: All campus
June 29, 2023


Diversity, access, and inclusion remain top priorities of UC Merced and of the entire University of California, as President Drake affirmed today.

While our campus was founded long after California voters forbade affirmative action programs, as an institution and as a community UC Merced has achieved excellence in teaching, research and public service while cultivating the well-being of our community members and advancing the interests of all Californians.

We do this with intentionality, honoring and inviting diverse perspectives that stand for and reflect the people of this state, and country. Indeed, research not just in higher education but in private industry has consistently affirmed the value of creating inclusive and diverse communities.

Many advocates will thus be disappointed by the Supreme Court ruling denying universities the ability to use affirmative action as another tool to help further achieve the compelling interest of diversity across the landscape of higher education. The message this ruling sends about how we as a country value diversity of thought, particularly in those venues where thought should be most valued, is distressing.

The Supreme Court decision, though readily perceived as an impediment, does not preclude the path the University has chosen: pursuing academic and research excellence in parallel to building a community of brilliant people from diverse backgrounds who thrive in the context of inclusive values.

We encourage others to join us in this commitment.



Juan Sánchez Muñoz, Ph.D.

Marjorie Zatz, Ph.D.
Interim EVC and Provost

Betsy Dumont, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Natural Sciences

Rakesh Goel, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Engineering

Delia Saenz, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer

Jeffrey Gilger, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts