A state senator began the process of introducing legislation that would eliminate legacy admissions at Penn and public and private colleges and universities across Pennsylvania.
On July 10, Williams sent a memorandum to Pennsylvania state senators, encouraging them to co-sponsor a future bill that would “outlaw meritless based ‘legacy admissions’” for all higher education institutions in Pennsylvania.
In the memorandum, Williams voiced his concern that allowing legacy admissions at Pennsylvania universities would violate the recent Supreme Court ruling in Students For Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, which deemed affirmative action practices in college admissions to be unconstitutional.
“Banning legacy admissions would be consistent with the Supreme Court's ruling which focuses on merit-based admissions rather than admissions based on preference,” Williams wrote in the memorandum.
The Daily Pennsylvanian reached out to Williams’ office but did not receive a comment by the time of publication.
Pennsylvania would not be the first state to ban legacy admissions in higher education admissions. In 2021, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 1173 into law — a ban on the usage of legacy admission in Colorado's public colleges and universities, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh no longer consider legacies in their admissions processes, but Penn has not ceased legacy admissions in its own process.
The DP previously reported in March how the University had quietly changed their wording in regards to legacy admissions on its undergraduate admissions website. Penn has also recently ended legacy family-specific admissions information sessions. If Williams’ bill were to pass, Penn’s own practices may need to be shifted.
Following the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, students, faculty, and administrators alike have voiced concerns and questions over what the future of admissions will look like on the Penn campus. The Admissions Office has confirmed that their commitment to diversity will not falter.
“What will not change is our commitment to creating a diverse community as central to the educational experience at Penn,” Admissions Dean Whitney Soule wrote in a statement following the Supreme Court ruling.