Georgetown Community Petitions to End Legacy Admissions for Descendants of Alums, Faculty, Staff

The petition has over 700 signatures from community members and calls for an end to all legacy admissions except for descendants of the GU272, who were enslaved by the Maryland Province of Jesuits, as reconciliation.
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Published on September 11, 2023
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  • The petition says the policy directly hurts campus diversity. Georgetown projected a decrease in enrollment from underrepresented groups.
  • Virginia Tech and Wesleyan University ended legacy admissions after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against affirmative action in college admissions.
  • According to The Hoya, legacy admits make up 9% of the student population.

Students, faculty, and staff at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., are petitioning to eliminate legacy admissions — university policies that favor children of alums, faculty, and staff in admissions.

The Hoya, Georgetown's independent student newspaper, reported Aug. 31 that over 300 members of Georgetown's community had signed a petition to end legacy admissions while keeping preferential admission consideration for descendants of the GU272, who were enslaved by the Maryland Province of Jesuits, as reconciliation.

The petition invites all students, clubs, alums, faculty, and affiliates to end the "unfair advantage it gives to legacy applicants who are descendants of faculty, staff, or alumni, a policy that directly hurts campus diversity."

As of Sept. 11, there are over 700 signatures.

"In light of the Supreme Court's recent decision to ban race-conscious admissions, we, the Georgetown community, are deeply concerned with the inevitable impact on diversity and inclusion in admissions and on campus," the petition reads.

"While President (John) DeGioia released a commendable statement in opposition to the ruling, we are worried by the findings in Georgetown's own report, which project a decrease in enrollment of students from underrepresented groups."

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, also called race-conscious admissions, on June 29. Since then, Virginia Tech and Wesleyan University have ended legacy admissions.

The petition says that legacy applicants, who make up 9% of Georgetown's students, are disproportionately whiter and wealthier than peers and are admitted at double the rate of non-legacy applicants.

The petition authors counter the argument that legacy admissions incentivize alum donations by citing that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University have not seen donation rate decreases since removing legacy admissions in 2006 and 2014, respectively.

The petition follows a Harvard lawsuit claiming that the university discriminates against minority students by favoring legacy applicants.

"But for university administrators struggling to conceive of ways to ensure student diversity in the wake of SCOTUS' ruling, legacy admissions remains one more hurdle that suddenly seems not only expendable but also socially tone-deaf and morally repugnant," BestColleges senior writer Mark Drozdowski reported.