Governor Cuomo today issued an open letter to SUNY Board of Trustees Chair H. Carl McCall and CUNY Board of Trustees Chair William C. Thompson Jr. directing them to maintain their diversity and inclusion plans after the Trump administration rescinded guidelines on using race in college admissions. The letter directs the Chairs to continue existing policies that promote racial diversity and inclusion and to prepare a report by August 15 on how they will further expand and increase diversity on campuses.
The full text of the letter is available below:
Dear Chairman McCall and Chairman Thompson,
The Trump administration's move to rescind the guidelines on using race in college admissions is a blatant attempt to limit the participation of minorities in higher education. It is part of a troubling trend by the President and his administration to alienate minorities and build walls to diversity and equal participation in society.
As you know, this issue has been going through the courts since 1978 (Regents of the University of California V. Bakke), most recently with the 2016 decision in Fisher V. University of Texas. The courts have determined that diversity is a valuable and allowable part of higher education.
New York's two university systems have long been bastions of diversity and engines of social mobility. SUNY is nearly 45% minority and CUNY is 76% minority. This diversity broadens understanding and breaks down barriers and stereotypes, and it ensures all New Yorkers have the opportunity to succeed.
In this state, we embrace diversity and we encourage it. I am directing you to continue your existing diversity and inclusion plans. The new federal action should have no bearing on admission policies and should not interfere with SUNY's and CUNY's commitment to a diverse and inclusive student body.
In addition, I am directing you to reexamine your existing plans to ensure these plans are furthering New York's goals of diversity and inclusion. To that end, SUNY and CUNY should each prepare a report due by August 15, 2018 outlining how they will expand and increase diversity representation on our campuses.
The Trump administration wants to take this country backwards, but in New York we are moving forward. We will continue to work together to dismantle barriers to social and economic mobility and extend the promise of equal opportunity to all New Yorkers.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo