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Berquam, Sims: Our view on ‘UWNotFair’

April 9, 2014

The following message was sent to students on April 9 by Patrick Sims, Interim Vice Provost & Chief Diversity Officer and Lori Berquam, Vice Provost for Student Life and Dean of Students.

Dear members of the campus community,

In recent days we have heard about a new effort by an out-of-state group that plans to legally challenge UW–Madison’s admissions policies. We strongly disagree and want to share our views on this topic.

Photo: Lori Berquam

Lori Berquam

Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. said it very clearly on Monday:

“We celebrate the benefits of a diverse student body at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. We believe the educational benefits provided by a multitude of viewpoints, backgrounds, talents, perspectives and experiences are essential components of higher education.”

Patrick Sims


When making decisions involving admission to undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, UW–Madison considers academic credentials as the most important factor. The university also performs a comprehensive review of an applicant’s entire record and takes a wide range of factors into account.

Every student offered a place at this university is judged to be capable of success.

If questions or a legal challenge to our admissions practices emerges, we are fully prepared to defend our processes as we did when we faced similar scrutiny in 2007 and 2011. We have reviewed our policies in the wake of the Fisher, Gratz and Grutter decisions and believe our approach is consistent with the law.

You, as students, have demonstrated your intellect, your commitment, your leadership and your integrity to this campus and your fellow students. There is no doubt that you deserve to be here and we want you to be here.

Every one of you has the ability to succeed and contribute something special to our student body.

It is times like these when we need to come together as a community to support each other and send the message that we are linked arm in arm. It is the strength of us working together that contributes to the diverse and campus environment we want to create here at Wisconsin.

If you want to continue this conversation, please attend Thursday’s Ad Hoc Diversity Committee strategic framework engagement session, from 7 – 9 p.m. at DeJope Hall. I’d also urge you to continue posting photos and tweets at #ITooAmUWMadison.

We support our students and are committed to providing a safe and cohesive learning environment for everyone. Please know that we are here for you and that we are listening.

Patrick Sims, Interim Vice Provost & Chief Diversity Officer

Lori Berquam, Vice Provost for Student Life and Dean of Students