Occidental College will no longer give admissions preference to children of alumni, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action.
“In the past, an applicant’s familial relationship to the College’s alumni could be considered as a factor in the admission decision if the student was otherwise a qualified applicant,” Occidental president Harry Elam wrote in a statement announcing the decision Wednesday. “To ensure we are removing any potential barriers to access and opportunity, Occidental will no longer ask applicants about alumni relationships as part of the application.”
The small liberal arts college in Los Angeles is just the second private institution to eliminate legacy preferences in the wake of the June 29 Supreme Court decision, following on the heels of Wesleyan University, which announced an end to its legacy policy on July 19. The University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, a public institution, also ended legacy preferences earlier this month.
Occidental made the announcement the same day that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into Harvard University’s use of legacy preferences in admissions, and amid growing pressure on institutions to abandon the practice as part of a broad response to the affirmative action ban.