Vanderbilt establishes task force to address Supreme Court’s university admissions decision

Vanderbilt has convened a task force to help the university react to the possible impact of two anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decisions in cases that challenge the use of race as a factor in college admissions. The university-wide panel will work to gauge the effects on recruitment and admission practices, and on Vanderbilt’s ability to ensure equal opportunity in carrying out its imperative to educate diverse minds. 

“Our commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging is unwavering as we continue to deliver a transformative education to each and every student who comes to Vanderbilt,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver said.  

The task force, formed by the Office of the Provost in coordination with the chancellor’s office, is charged with helping the Vanderbilt campus and community understand the implications of the High Court’s decisions and guide the university’s responses. It will play a key role in helping communicate Vanderbilt’s unwavering commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion—and in bringing to light any impacts the Supreme Court’s decisions have on students, faculty and staff in regard to the admissions and recruitment processes and beyond. 

Vanderbilt is committed to nurturing a rich, diverse academic community where the university can prepare leaders with the tools and perspectives needed to make a positive and lasting impact on the world. Regardless of the court’s decisions, the university will work to identify and recruit a wide and deep pool of applicants from around the country and the world. 

“Diversity strengthens our community in so many ways and is defined across so many facets of students’ identities and life experiences. This task force will ensure that our polices, our practices and the composition of our student body comply with the law and also reflect that deep-seated commitment,” Raver said. “I look forward to working with this dedicated group on such an important effort.” 

The task force will meet as necessary to address any issues raised by the court’s decisions.  

Members of the task force are:  

  • Douglas Christiansen, vice provost for university enrollment affairs, dean of admissions and financial aid and associate professor of public policy and higher education (task force co-chair) 
  • André Christie-Mizell, vice provost for graduate education, dean of the graduate school, director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Centennial Professor of Sociology (task force co-chair) 
  • Katherine Friedman, associate provost for undergraduate education, associate professor and vice chair of biological sciences  
  • Jennifer Steffen Kimble, director of admissions, School of Medicine 
  • Catherine Gavin Loss, associate dean for academic affairs and professional education, and associate professor of the practice of leadership, Peabody College 
  • Todd Morton, assistant dean and dean of admissions, the Law School 
  • Rosevelt Noble, assistant dean of residential colleges and director of the Black Cultural Center  
  • Ernie Rushing, associate dean of enrollment, alumni and student affairs, School of Nursing 
  • Michelle Tellock, deputy general counsel 
  • Steven Townsend, Stevenson Professor of Chemistry  
  • Julianne Vernon, associate dean for academic success and assistant professor of the practice of chemical and biomolecular engineering  
  • Consuelo Hopkins Wilkins, professor of medicine and senior vice president of health equity and inclusive excellence, VUMC; senior associate dean for health equity and inclusive excellence, School of Medicine 
  • Richard Germano, assistant provost and senior director of university enrollment affairs 
  • Adrienne Hiegel, consultant, Office of the Provost