In response to the letter on admission data (Inbox, June/July 2020), the comment that “Dean Richardson [’93] and her admissions staff apparently didn’t get [Martin Luther King Jr.’s] message” implies a belief that the Class of 2024 was admitted primarily on “the color of their skin,” not “the content of their character.” I question the underlying premise: Does evidence exist that the selection process adhered to less rigorous standards than the usual ones upheld by the Office of Admission? (Spoiler alert: No.)
What, then, elicited the admission comments this year, particularly, and not, say, last year when Jill Dolan was the acting dean of admission? The press releases for the classes of 2023 and 2024 were quite similar. Evidently, the University’s commitment to diversity has been explicit and well-documented for a while now.
We’ll never know if similar sentiments would have been expressed had Dean Dolan, who is white, delivered the exact same results this year. We know only that the letter appeared during the tenure of Dean Richardson, who is African American. While it surprised me to see a fellow alum rebuke a highly qualified dean for executing Princeton’s established recruiting strategy, something about the invocation of Dr. King in a pointed tone bothered me more. I’m confident that Dean Richardson and her team understand the letter and spirit of “I have a dream” perfectly. Thank you, Dean Richardson, for all your efforts, and your team’s, to manifest Princeton’s mission in the world’s service. And to every member of the Class of 2024, congratulations and welcome! You are right where you belong.