Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on June 29 that held race-based admission policies are unconstitutional in higher education, schools such as Ohio’s Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine (BSOM) have continued their race-focused planning and expensive DEI-related activities.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents obtained by Do No Harm show that Dr. Valerie Weber, dean of BSOM and a member of the administrative board of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Council of Deans, sought data from the school’s director of admissions regarding the race and ethnicity of students offered admission in 2023 and 2024.
“We need this for the LCME [Liaison Committee on Medical Education] self study groups upcoming,” Weber informed Kaelin Locker, referring to America’s primary medical school accreditation organization.
An email dated July 18 reveals Weber asked Locker to complete a chart that provides “the total number of offers of admission to the medical school made to individuals in the school-identified diversity categories for the indicated academic years.”
The chart names “diversity categories” such as “Race/Ethnicity Classified as Under-represented in medicine (URM),” which is defined as:
- African American/African/Black
- Native American/Indigenous Persons
- Alaskan/Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
However, Dean Weber’s concerns regarding meeting presumed LCME requirements are unfounded, as Do No Harm reported on July 26. The previous day, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce heard the LCME’s explanation that its Accreditation Standards have nothing in them that “mandates which categories of diversity a medical school must use” to satisfy “focused recruitment and retention activities” or “mission-appropriate diversity outcomes.”
In other email documents obtained, it is clear the Supreme Court’s ruling banning race-based admissions is a concern to Weber.
On June 30, the day after the Court’s decision was released, Weber replied to a question posed by Amy Thompson, Ph.D., Wright State University’s provost and senior vice president of academic affairs:
You have obviously seen the Supreme Court decision regarding race based decisions. What is the plan to begin to suppress race and ethnicity on all Medical School applications?
“[A]ll applications are through AMCAS which is part of AAMC,” Weber responded. “They are analyzing the ruling and will be making changes accordingly. Essentially removing the identifier from the application is my understanding.”
In an email dated July 2, Weber shared AAMC’s statement that it is “deeply disappointed” by the decision, and then commented:
[M]edical school admissions is vastly different from undergraduate or graduate admissions, as we aim to select from a large pool those students who are best fit to pursue a career in medicine and fit BSOM’s particular mission. Medical schools follow holisitic [sic] admissions processes, and at BSOM, this involves looking at all aspects of our applicants beyond the numbers, strongly favoring Ohio residents and students from the region while aiming for a diverse student body. We also have accreditation standards around diversity which, I understand, will not be changing despite the decision. So, some challenges here as we move forward.
Nothing in the Court’s ruling says that schools can’t collect and analyze data or plan for future medical student cohorts. But just because race can no longer be considered in admissions decisions doesn’t mean it isn’t front and center in the minds of university administrators. Dean Weber’s emphasis on it shows that this information, as well as engaging in activities that align with the DEI agenda promoted by accrediting bodies, is still a primary focus – regardless of the costs.
The FOIA documents reveal that, on July 7, Weber engaged in another email discussion with Thompson. This time, the topic was related to an upcoming conference held by the AAMC.
In her email to Weber, Thompson appears to object to the cost of the conference after receiving requests for funding from Weber.
The amounts requested are $4,000 and $3,700 respectively. There has already been considerable travel spend out of BSOM this last fiscal year and we need to set some reasonable parameters.
For these two trips, I will approve university spend of up to $2,200 for each of you. Any additional costs will have to be covered personally. Other colleges are not covering these high dollar expenditures for travel.
As a member of AAMC’s administrative board for the Council of Deans, Weber responded to Thompson’s resistance to the expenditures by justifying their significance, in part, because of her own role in the association.
Weber seemed to be pressing Thompson for additional staff to attend the conference for BSOM to get up to speed with “national norms”:
The meeting that you reference, the AAMC meeting, is not a meeting for faculty, it is a meeting attended by deans of medical schools and dean’s office staff. Because processes around accreditation are constantly changing, our engagement at the national level is needed. As you know, I sit on the administrative board for the Council of Deans. My attendance is needed and virtual attendance is not an option. My participation in this council is a very big win for BSOM and WSU as it gives us national visibility and input into decision making processes affecting all medical schools.
“When I came to BSOM, I heard that our dean’s staff had not attended this meeting in years, due to restrictions from the university, and I believe it is one reason why our processes have been so out of line with national norms, and why we are now working so hard to correct so much in time for the LCME,” Weber asserted. “Our Vice Dean, Dr. [Ngozi] Anachebe, came to us from Morehouse, having been a Student Affairs dean at their medical school for many years. She found it odd that she had never met anyone from our dean’s office. This was because they did not participate nationally in the AAMC, and had never attended this meeting.”
Weber added that while the cost of registration for the AAMC conference is high ($1,400), the meeting is not one “people are attending for their personal or professional advancement.”
“It is [a] mission critical to the school,” she stated.
These email communications illustrate that Wright State University’s leadership has been discussing its disappointment in the Supreme Court’s ruling and spending money on expensive conferences held by the same politicized organization that loudly expressed the same discontent. Do No Harm will be monitoring the actions of the Boonshoft School of Medicine and calls on its administration to apply merit to the medical school admissions process and focus on training competent doctors, rather than continuing to invest in identity politics. We encourage anyone with responsibility over the school’s administrative affairs to ensure that the leadership is committed to honoring the Court’s decision without reservation or equivocation.
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