Putney’s Response to Affirmative Action Case

Dear Putney Community,

As you likely know, the United States Supreme Court recently determined (follow this link to read the opinions) that the Constitution does not allow colleges and universities to consider the race of applicants when making admissions decisions. It’s natural to ask how this ruling will impact The Putney School. At this time, as a private institution that does not accept federal funds, the ruling will not have any effect on Putney or our admissions policies. This is good news.

We want to assure every member of the Putney community that we will always aspire to the promise of our Fundamental Beliefs: the role of a Putney education is to help us achieve “a civilization worthy of the name.” Carmelita Hinton knew that the best way to “combat prejudice and injustice” was to build a diverse institution. Part of being a progressive school is to see the entirety of each student. A community where we have different skills, ambitions, and life journeys is core to a profound education.

We have confidence that many colleges hold the same beliefs we do. Despite this ruling, they will thoughtfully strive to maintain access for students and create diverse communities measured by multiple criteria. Our college counseling office will work with each student to help them showcase many facets of themselves so that colleges can clearly see how their time here at Putney melds with their home experiences to create compelling applicants and astute citizens.

Eliminating race as a factor in admissions decisions for colleges and universities means these institutions will have to work much harder to understand the applicants in front of them. It also ignores the indisputable fact that race—and the history of racial prejudice and discrimination in this country—is an important factor among the many that shape us. Though this work will be harder now, it must continue. Rest assured, Putney will remain at the forefront of these efforts. We will continue to lead the way in living at the intersection of our individuality and the systems of which we are a part. This will help Putney to, again in the words of our Fundamental Beliefs, “seek ways to live on the earth that are healthy for all beings.” May we commit to this work together.

With our best wishes,
Danny and Ann-Marie

Daniel O’Brien
Head of School

Ann-Marie White, Ph.D.
Dean of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

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