Wesleyan announces it will end ‘legacy’ admissions

Wesleyan University will end the practice of showing preference to applicants who have had family go to the school, it announced Wednesday.

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Citing the need for a diverse student body, the Connecticut liberal arts college, said the move was “important.”

In a letter to the university community on Wednesday, Wesleyan University President Michael Roth said “an applicant’s connection to a Wesleyan graduate indicates little about that applicant’s ability to succeed.”

“It is important to underscore that Wesleyan has never fixated on a checked box indicating a student’s racial identification or family affiliations,” Roth continued.

“We have long taken an individualized, holistic view of an applicant’s lived experience—as seen through the college essay, high school record, letters of recommendation, and interactions with our community.”

The Associated Press reports that Amherst College, Carnegie Melon University and Johns Hopkins University have all eliminated legacy admissions.

Roth promised that going forward those seeking admission would be judged “on their own merits.”

“We still value the ongoing relationships that come from multi-generational Wesleyan attendance, but there will be no ‘bump’ in the selection process,” Roth wrote. “As has been almost always the case for a long time, family members of alumni will be admitted on their own merits.”

The university noted last month’s US Supreme Court ruling that race could no longer be considered as a factor in admissions.

In June, the court decided by a vote of 6-3 that the admissions programs used by the University of North Carolina and Harvard College violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause, which bars racial discrimination by government entities.