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Soka University of America

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
1 University Drive
Aliso Viejo, California 92656
(949) 480-4000
Email address
School Information
Soka University is a private, four-year liberal arts college and graduate school in Aliso Viejo, CA. The university is ranked in the top 25 liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News and World Report's "Best Colleges 2019,"and as a Top 15 "Best Value"​ college. Soka University offers an 8:1 student/faculty ratio and study abroad for every undergraduate student. Founded upon the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life, SUA is open to top students of all nationalities and beliefs. About 60% of Soka University's students come from the US and 40% have come from more than 45 other countries. Admitted students whose annual family income is $60,000 or less may be eligible for Soka Opportunity Scholarships which cover full tuition. Additional scholarship opportunities are available for higher income levels. Founded in 1987. (source:
General Information
Soka University in 2021 adopted new directives towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. "As we approach the 20th anniversary of Soka University of America’s opening, we continue to advance our work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. We recognize the need to address individual and systemic oppression that impacts everyone navigating society, and remain committed to fostering global citizens who contribute to changing this fabric into one that is based on respect for the dignity of life. We will continue to work together with students, faculty, and staff to ensure every member of our community feels a true sense of belonging at Soka. We are committed to taking action and continuing dialogue about identity and social justice. We will engage in dialogue more deeply, effectively, and thoughtfully so we can hear the voices of our entire community and work alongside them to make change. Through this process, we aim to move away from the binaries that have been used to discuss and enact change in society, while creating focused and universal approaches that will be assessed by how they help us advance our goal of equity and justice on campus for all. Toward that end, we are highlighting some of the efforts that are underway, which will continue to evolve and develop." (source:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • On June 29, 2023, Soka's President issued a message in response to the Supreme Court's affirmative action ruling which reads in part as follows: "I am writing to express my concern about today’s Supreme Court rulings...The decisions to effectively end affirmative action in higher education admissions could have far-reaching consequences, particularly for students from communities that have historically been marginalized and underrepresented on U.S. college and university campuses...The court’s decisions only strengthen my commitment to ensuring that SUA’s policies and practices are rooted in a culture where all people are treated with respect, feel welcomed and included, and are able to participate fully and achieve their greatest potential."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • "Effective spring 2021: All students are being required to take an online DEI course in the spring to register for fall classes," and, "Fall 2020: First years participated in new student orientation mandatory eight-part DEI educational sessions which will be expanded upon in subsequent years." Staff and faculty also have mandatory trainings in unconscious bias, discrimination, and "LGBT SportSafe."
Program and Research Funding
  • Formed the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Human Rights in 2020 to develop DEI training, lectures, and academic programs.
  • "Became an inaugural member of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA)," and, "We will conduct a National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climate (NACCC) racial climate survey in fall 2021 through LACRELA."
  • Hosted a symposium, "Critical Conversations," with Amy Goodman of "Democracy NOW!" in 2018.
  • The library system has provided resources such as "How to Be An Antiracist."
  • The university hosted a discussion called “Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration” with Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller and Jhody Polka in February 2021. In March, it held a speaker event on “Fearing and Desiring of Black Women, A Book Talk on ‘Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in US and Brazilian Media,’” with Dr. Jasmine Mitchell.
  • Professor Gesa E. Kirsch received a book contract for a co-edited volume of "Unsettling Archival Research: Engaging Critical, Communal, and Digital Archives." This is "one of the first publications in rhetoric and writing studies to unsettle disciplinary knowledge of archival research by drawing on decolonial, Indigenous, antiracist, queer, local, and community perspectives."
  • In March 2022, the university hosted "Transformative Scholarship Beyond the Ivory Tower: A Conversation with Dr. Hortense J. Spillers," a "preeminent American literary critic and Black feminist scholar."
  • The role of the Campus Climate Support Team at Soka is "to support, refer, inform, and educate those impacted by or involved in bias incidents, and the broader community." However, the team does not take disciplinary actions but rather provides a reporting form in order to track bias incidents.
Symbolic Actions
  • Summer 2020 message from the university president: "Across the nation and the world, we’ve witnessed the outrage sparked by the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd resulting from systemic racism in our society. For far too long, the indifference to, and the dehumanization of, the black community has caused unending suffering. We must not ignore human suffering, the pain of others. Our core values as an institution necessitate that we care deeply and seek to be the change we want to see in our world."
  • Soka's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion states that it is committed to "enhancing SUA’s diversity, which is expressed in many forms, including and not limited to, national or ethnic origin, race, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, family structure, socioeconomic status, dis(ability) status, language, culture, religion, age, and political perspective."
Last updated January 12th, 2024
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