Chancellor’s statement on admissions hearing

October 17, 2011

Members of the campus community,

In recent weeks, many of you have been engaged in an important debate over diversity and admissions policies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This issue is extremely important to me and I want to provide you an update.

Later this afternoon, senior university leaders will appear before a Legislative hearing of the state Assembly’s Higher Education committee. The purpose of this informational hearing is to discuss our admissions policies and practices.

Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. and Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment Adele Brumfield will provide testimony and answer questions of members of the committee.

While some may have concerns about this Legislative interest, we welcome the opportunity to provide additional background and context on our admissions process. I am confident in Paul’s and Adele’s ability to convey the importance of this issue to members of the committee.

They will reiterate that when making admissions decisions, UW–Madison uses a comprehensive review processes for undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. Academic preparation has always been and will always be the most important factor. But we look carefully at the students behind those numbers.

We know that enrolling students of all cultures and backgrounds improves the learning environment at UW–Madison and prepares everyone to be competitive in an increasingly multicultural world. We also know that being diverse means more than ethnicity. We believe in recruiting not only students from ethnic minority groups, but also those from rural Wisconsin, first-generation college students, veterans and women in the sciences, among others.

As I have stated in the past, I am confident these practices are absolutely consistent with Board of Regents policy, peer institutions across the nation, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, as well as the informal opinion provided by the Wisconsin attorney general.

Our policies and practices have been a key element of our success over the years, and they will be in the years to come.

Beginning at 2 p.m., the hearing will be webcast by Wisconsin Eye. I invite you to watch it online at:

http://www.wiseye.org/Home/AirVideoStream.aspx

Chancellor David Ward