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October 15, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-15

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 15, 1997 - 5

1ace one of many factors in admissions

0 Admissions officials say
diverse student body has
always been a priority

Jeffrey Kosseff
aly Staff Reporter
While a lawsuit
Individual Rights

by the Center
contends that

Duderstadt, claiming that the University's
preference toward minorities in admissions
violates both the 14th Amendment and the
Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"I will not deny the fact that we have used race
as a factor," Director of Undergraduate
Admissions Ted Spencer said yesterday. "We
want a variety of students representing diverse
areas. We've always felt that race was impor-
Bakke vs. California is the case of prece-
dent in the area of affirmative action. The
Supreme Court ruled that race may be used as
one of many factors in determining admission
at public universities. The plaintiffs, however,
claim race is a deciding factor at the

Spencer said a student cannot be admitted to
the University without meeting high academic
"A student must be academically solid before
we consider any other factors," Spencer said.
"We assess them based on everything. We admit
students based on the competition for that year."
Admission to the University, Spencer said, is
a "subjective process" that involves many fac-
In addition to admitting students based on the
primary factors of GPA and standardized test
scores, the University uses a selection index
called SCUGA - School, Curriculum,
Unusual, Geographic, Alumni - to weigh addi-
tional factors.
The SCUGA selection index adds or subtracts

points from a student's GPA for the following
® Quality of high school
Advanced placement and honors classes
Rigor of curriculum
Leadership and service
Personal achievements
Contributions to a diverse class
Exceptional cases
Geographic factor
Alumni factor (children, grandchildren, sib-
lings, or spouses of alumni)
For example, if an applicant went to a "very
good school" she would receive a .2 increase in
her GPA for admissions purposes, and if she had
a weak curriculum in school, her GPA would

"A student must be
academically solid
before we consider
any otherfactors ."
- Ted Spencer
Director of Undergraduate Admissions
decrease by .1.
An applicant who comes from "a federally
recognized underrepresented race or ethnici-
ty" would receive a .5 increase under the
SCUGA category of "contribution to a diverse

University's admission programs blatantly
discriminate by race, some University offi-
cials claim race is only one of many factors in
the admissions process.
CIR filed a class action lawsuit yesterday
aainst the College of Literature, Science
and Arts, University President Lee Bollinger,
d former University President James


deans, faculty stand

behind admissions policy

Former University President James Duderstadt looks out on a classroom near the end of his term. Duderstadt launched
the Michigan Mandate in :987 to increase diversity at the University.
Lawsuit challen e diverSity

By Janet Adamy
Daily Staff Reporter
University deans and faculty stood
behind admissions procedures yesterday,
stressing the importance of maintaining a
diverse student body in the face of a
newly filed class-action lawsuit.
The lawsuit, which seeks to termi-
nate the use of race-based admissions
preferences, targets the College of
Literature, Science and Arts, to which
the two plaintiffs were denied admis-
LSA Dean Edie Goldenberg said the
University's admissions procedures fit
legal parameters.
"These suits are often based on a very
limited notion of grades and test scores,"
said Goldenberg, adding that extracurric-
ular activities, leadership skills and
regional location are among other factors
considered during the admissions
process. "This perspective is trying to
focus on one aspect among many."
Goldenberg said the lawsuit was
troubling because of the importance of
diversity to the University.
"The quality of the educational learn-
ing environment that we provide to our
students is very affected by the variety
of students we bring to campus,"
Goldenberg said.
Goldenberg said the filing of the suit
alone will not have a direct impact on
the type of students who apply to the
University, but will have repercussions
throughout the campus community.
"A filing of a lawsuit doesn't tell you
anything about what is going to eventu-
ate," Goldenberg said. "I think this is a

community that cares a great deal about
attracting to Ann Arbor a diverse stu-
dent body. This will probably stimulate
Philosophy Prof. Carl Cohen said the
University should not compromise con-
stitutional principles to maintain a
diverse student body.
"1 know the motivation is honorable,
but the device is unacceptable," Cohen
said, adding that he believes the
University's admissions policies violate
the 14th Amendment. "We don't give
people the equal protection of the law
when we give preference on the basis of
skin color.
"A wealthy black student is not wor-
thy of compensation just because his
ancestors were hurt" Cohen said.
Law School Dean Jeffrey Lehman said
that while he was not surprised that the
suit was filed, he is disappointed it hap-
"Ultimately, it will be a time for the
University to have its admissions poli-
cies vindicated in court,' Lehman said.
Lehman said that although the suit
does not directly challenge the Law
School, it will effect the Law School as
well as the University as a whole.
"(The lawsuit) appears to be
premised upon a challenge to the very
idea of diversity at the University"
Lehman said. "To the extent that that is
what's behind it, I feel that this is an
attack on the entire University.
"The University serves a heteroge-
neous world and maintaining a diverse
student body is critically valuable to
pursuing those goals," Lehman said.

Former Public Policy Dean Edward
Gramlich, who is undergoing confirma-
tion for a spot on the Federal Reserve
Board, said the maintenance of a
diverse student body is essential to his
former school.
"I do think society's going to be bet-
ter if people from all backgrounds are
brought into the making of public poli-
cy," Gramlich said. "I-do think society
will work better if people from various
points of views are represented in it."
SNRE Prof. Bunyan Bryant said the
suit threatens the progress the
University has made toward achieving
diversity in recent years
"It may perhaps have a chilling effect
on the people who have been working
very hard to defend affirmative action,"
Bryant said. "Potentially, the gains that
we have made over the last 20 years or
so could be lost. I just hope we don't get
to that."
Physiology Prof. Louis D'Alecy said
he doesn't think the impact of the suit
will be as powerful as it was in Texas and
California higher education systems.
"The public realizes this is a tactic that
is being used to nationally confront these
issues and we're just one campus on a
long list of these targets," said D'Alecy,
the chair of the faculty's governing body.
D'Alecy said he doesn't think the suit
will deter prospective faculty members
from joining the University's faculty, and
will help unite current faculty members.
"I think this will stimulate faculty to
pay attention to issues of diversity and
assert themselves appropriately"
D'Alecy said.

By Chris Metinko
Daily Staff Reporter
When former University President
James Duderstadt announced the
Michigan Mandate on Sept. 20, 1987,
he described it as a "strategic plan to
create a multicultural university in the
The lawsuit filed yesterday by the
Center for Individual Rights challenges
the Mandate's methods for admitting
and retaining minority students.
Since the Mandate's introduction,
minority enrollment at the University as
a whole has risen from 12.7 percent to
25.4 percent. Undergraduate admis-
sions of minority students has risen
from 12.5 percent to 26.1 percent.
"The object of the mandate was to
bring diversity to the campus," said
Lisa Baker, 'associate vice president
for University relations.
The mandate had four strategic
Faculty recruitment and develop-
Student recruitment, achieve-
ment and outreach
* Staff recruitment and develop-
® Improving the environment for
"The Michigan Mandate was one of

the many devices used to achieve
diversity," Duderstadt said yesterday.
Ted Spencer, director of undergrad-
uate admissions at the University, said
the mandate unified the admissions
offices to focus on a specific goal.
"The Michigan Mandate made sure
all the (admissions) offices at the
University had a commitment to
diversity," Spencer said. "We at the
admissions office have a commitment
to diversity."
Spencer said the diversity at the
University is now comparable with
any of the top 25 universities in the
The mandate also has succeeded in
recruiting and retaining minority facul-
ty. The amount of tenured and tenure-
track minority faculty has increased
since the Mandate's introduction.
"The twin goals of the mandate
were to link academics and diversity,"
Baker said. "I think it has been suc-
cessful in many ways." -
Louis D'Alecy, chair of the facul-
ty's governing body, has been teach-
ing at the University since 1973. He
said the mandate has helped diversity
on campus, but said that perhaps it
could have had a bigger impact.
"A lot of people would agree with the
intent of (the Michigan Mandate and

the Agenda for Women)," D'Alecy said,
adding the statutes were "good and
appropriate for the campus."
D'Alecy, however, said the
Mandate could have been "more pro-
ductive if you engaged the faculty
more in the process," especially in the
area of faculty recruitment.
But the new lawsuit only challenges
the goal of minority recruitment and
retention of students.
"We're very proud of the diversity
of our campus," Baker said.
History Prof. Nicholas Steneck,
who is involved with faculty gover-
nance and has extensively studied
University history, said Duderstadt's
Mandate improved diversity. But
efforts to diversify the campus began .
in 1962, Steneck said, and the first
diversification initiative came in
. "Diversity is always going to be an
issue at the University," Steneck said.
"It always has been."
Spencer said the Mandate achieved
more in the area of diversity than past
"I think we've done a pretty good job
of achieving diversity, more than what
we had in the past," Spencer said.
- Daily Staff Reporter Jeffrey
. Kosseff contributed to this report.


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opwood case hurts diversity,
causes tension at U of Texas

By. Heather Kamins
Daily Staff Reporter
If the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit now challenging
the University's admissions processes are successful, the
campus could come to look a lot like the University of Texas,
which lost a similar case one year ago.
Since the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in
Hopwood vs. The University of Texas in March 1996, the uni-
versity has been marked with great emotion and growing
social rifts.
"It has been the key issue on our campus," said James Vick,
UT vice president for student affairs. "We have had a drop in
minority enrollment this fall - enough to be concerned. It
'mounted to about a 10 percent drop in African American
enrollment and about a one percent change in Hispanic
UT Law School Dean Michael Sharlot said the impact of
Hopwood on the law school was mucn greater than on the
general undergraduate population.
"There is no question that minority students feel very frus-
trated and angry. The drop in the law school has been very

ber of Law Students for Diversity, said that until recently, law
students had not spoken out.
"UT law students didn't really think anything was going to
happen," Feldman said. "The Texas administration has fought
really hard to defend affirmative action. Now the real prob-
lem is a lack of leadership in the post-Hopwood world. The
administration has provided no leadership in attaining diver-
Feldman said that after a few students saw the admissions
statistics this summer, they became outraged and decided to
take action in several ways, including a "massive" 5,000 per-
son rally in September. The students demanded that the uni-
versity maintain a commitment to diversity.
"A quality education demands diversity," he said.
"Therefore the obligation of the administration (is) to create
diversity with or without affirmative action. We're not fight-
ing for affirmative action because we don't have that option.
That could very well happen at Michigan."
But a counter group rose up against the many voices at UT
that were still fighting for affirmative action.
UT senior Marc Levin, president of Students for Equal

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