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Statement on Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Dear PPD Community,

I wish to add my personal perspective on the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down Affirmative Action in college admissions, which I view as a serious blow not just to our Department and all we have been trying to accomplish in recent years for our students, faculty, and staff, but also to the entire project of higher education in the United States. 

Affirmative Action made higher education a more level playing field for college admissions across racial lines, and thus made the benefits of higher education more widely available to deserving students whatever their background. The decision by the Supreme Court is, in my view, only part of a campaign to pretend to erase the very real ways that racism has negatively affected access to academic success. 

PPD celebrates and values our diversity in terms of background, knowledge, and approach to art and scholarship in dance, games, and theater. We have been working for years to decolonize our curriculum and diversify our faculty, staff, and student body in order to make sure not only that the Department is a welcoming place for all students, but also to advance our effectiveness and excellence in ways that require a diverse body of experiences, talents, and approaches to the performing arts and games. We are proud to have one of the more diverse faculties in the University and we are reaping the benefits of that diversity in countless ways, ways that improve the university experience for everyone who lives, studies, and works in our community.

The decision was not unexpected and, unfortunately for Californians, is nothing new as it does not directly change UC admissions policy which has been banned from considering race in admissions since 1996. That noted, the ruling will likely have some negative impact on our student body in predictable and unpredictable ways. Our job, therefore, will be to continue in our efforts to welcome diversity and uplift all members of our community regardless of their background, and persist in our long-term project of continuing to make our work accessible to everyone. We acknowledge the important benefits of having our leadership and student body reflect the diversity of the multicultural country in which we live and practice our art, and we have no intention of reversing those values.

I look forward to working with all of you in the coming months to make a better future for all of us. 

Michael "Doc" Chemers
Professor and Chair
Department of Performance, Play & Design
Read Arts Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu's statement: here .


Friday, June 30, 2023