2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, June 24, 2003
THE UNIVERSITY REACTS
Heanng decision, emotional
Coleman proclaims victory
By Jennifer Misthal higher learning to use the Law School's
Daily News Editor admissions as a "road map" to model their "It's very emotional. It's
future policies. importa~ent for all of higher
WASHINGTON - Rushing into the Searching for words to best describe the t fo a g
cafeteria of the Supreme Court, communi- wave of emotions overtaking her, Coleman education."
catsons T'-rt. Attsony -t11t-1ng - casters -ut -appeare --'-verwt1e-me-2
cations Prof. Anthony Collings called out
"we've won, we've won" to University
President Mary Sue Coleman, standing
alone at a long table yesterday morning.
Except for a gold 'M' pin on her green
sweater, Coleman's presence was incon-
spicuous.With no cellular phone service,
and thus no way to get in contact with Uni-
versity officials in Ann Arbor, Coleman
was left with no choice but to wait among
the masses for the court's decision.
All trace of uneasiness vanished from
her face as she listened to Collings abbrevi-
ate the decisions. Just moments before,
Coleman looked anxious as she waited for
word on the court's decisions regarding the
two lawsuits that challenged the Universi-
ty's use of race in its admissions policies.
"It's just wonderful," Coleman said, her
hand on her chest. "We've held the Law
School. It's really important - not just for
Michigan but for everybody." Emerging
from the court shortly after, the bombastic
pride Coleman exuded was like students
and alumni after a winning football game.
Coleman hailed the court for allowing both
the University and other institutions of
"It's very emotional. It's important for all
of higher education," Coleman said. She
added that as long as race can continue to
be used in admissions policies, the Univer-
sity has triumphed after six years of court
battles that have amounted to nearly nine
million dollars in legal fees for the Uni-
versity, which will thankfully be covered
by its insurance.
Although filed against Coleman's prede-
cessor, Lee Bollinger, Coleman's excite-
ment appeared personal. At times, she
seemed close to tears, suggesting that in
the 10 months since she began her tenure
as president, she has become devoted to
the diversity and ideologies embodied by
"We believe that it extends far beyond
these admissions. We believe it extends to
financial aid, to academic support pro-
grams, to outreach programs, to leadership
programs. We believe that ultimately, it will
have an impact on corporate America -
what they do in their affirmative action hir-
ing, This is a huge, huge victory," she said.
Despite the fact that the court struck
- Mary Sue Coleman
down the current undergraduate admissions
guidelines, Coleman emphasized it is not
necessary to go "all the way back to the
"The court has provided two important
signals. The first is a green light to pur-
sue racial and ethnic diversity in the col-
lege classroom. The second is a pathway
to get us there," Coleman said in an e-
mail to the student body.
With a "road map" in place, Coleman
said revamping the University's undergrad-
uate policies will not be challenging in the
coming months. Optimistic, Coleman
expects new guidelines to be in place as
the University begins receiving applica-
tions this fall.
The class of 2007 will not only be as
diverse as years past, Coleman said, but
also - in accordance with the court's deci-
sion - there will be more individualized
attention focused on the estimated 25,000
applicants applying for admissions.
University President Mary Sue Coleman stands In front of the U.S. Supreme Court following
hYesterday's decision. The Supreme Court upheld the use of race as a factor In college admissions.
Coleman expects little difficulty in making new policy.
tColumbia University considers today's
ruling by the Supreme Court a huge vic-
tory for the future of American education
and society. The Court has upheld the
rights of universities to consider race as a
factor in assembling a diverse student
'body. Columbia has a long-standing
'commitment to diversity and we are glad
that the Court has affirmed its impor-
tance and the educational benefits that
"flow from a diverse student body. We
will continue to pursue admissions poli-
-Gies that better prepare all students for
the increasingly diverse workplace and
society in which we live.
-FormerLaw School Dean and Uni-
-versity President Lee Bollinger, now
president of Columbia University, in a
Although the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled only one of the Uni-
versity's two admissions policies
constitutional yesterday, University
President Mary Sue Coleman said
she is "very gratified" by the deci-
sion and that she was confident
that the University can rewrite the
College of Literature, Science and
the Arts' admissions policy.
"This is a tremendous victory
for the University of Michigan, for
all of higher education, and for the
hundreds of groups and individu-
als who supported us," Coleman
said in a written statement, refer-
ring to the numerous corporations,
law organizations and former mili-
tary officers who filed briefs sup-
porting the University.
By approving the Law School
policy, the court has validated the
principle of using racial plus fac-
tors to create a diverse student
body, and in doing so come down with
a landmark decision, Coleman said.
"This is a resounding affirmation
that will be heard across the land,"
"Year after year, our student
body proves it and now the court
has affirmed it - our diversity is
At the same time, six justices
voted to overturn the LSA policy,
leaving the University with the
daunting task of rewriting a policy
that administrators have said
processes about 25,000 applica-
tions a year.
But if Coleman was worried at
all, she did not show her anxiety
yesterday, instead saying that
administrators "don't anticipate
much difficulty" in crafting a new
policy that uses race in compliance
with the ruling.
"Make no mistake - we will find
the route that continues our commit-
ment to a richly diverse student
body," she said. "We think we can do
that by the fall season.
The court has told us they want a
more individualized approach, and
they've given us a road map."
Other University administrators
echoed Coleman's jubilant statements.
"The Court's decision leaves no
more doubt that students at the
University of Michigan and col-
leges across the country will have
the opportunity to live and learn on
richly diverse campuses," Universi-
ty General Counsel Marvin Krislov
said in a news release.
"Our nation's prosperity and
national security will be strength-
ened by today's decision."
Both LSA Dean Terrence
McDonald and Law School Associ-
ate Dean Evan Caminker, who is
slated to become the next Law
School dean, said the University will
succeed in re-writing the LSA policy
to comply with the court ruling and
still use racial plus factors.
"We will put to work some of the
brightest minds and most motivated
people in the country, and the
result, I am sure, will continue to
be a model for all of higher edu-
cation," McDonald said.
The burden of individually
reviewing all the applications LSA
receives means rewriting the policy
"will take some creative thinking
and administrative resources," but
will not be an insurmountable task,
But with the principle of race-
conscious admissions being upheld
and a road map for such policies
provided, outgoing Law School
Dean Jeffrey Lehman said "the
question is no longer whether affir-
mative action is legal, it is how to
hasten the day when affirmative
action is no longer needed."
According to the majority opin-
ion in the Law School case written
by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor,
the court expects that day to be
within 25 years.
Administrators said by then, they
hope race-conscious admissions will no
longer be necessary, but they questioned
whether the 25-year clause is a defini-
"I don't see the 25 years as a morato-
rium," Caminker said.
He added that O'Connor based
the deadline on the fact that 25
years earlier the court announced
its ruling in Regents of the Univer-
sity of California v. Bakke, which
banned the use of racial quotas but
permitted the use of race as one of
many admissions factors.
Although Terrence Pell, president of
the Center for Individual Rights which
represented the plaintiffs in the cases,
said the rulings mark the beginning of a
"trend downward" and that voters will
pass state laws banning race-conscious
admissions, Caminker said he hopes the
University will lead the fight to preserve
"My hope would be that states would
be moved by the fact that the Supreme
Court had affirmed the principles of
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Faculty looks with questions, concerns
to future use of race in admissions
By AbdurRahman Pasha
ahd Karen Schwartz
Daily Staff Reporters
:Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in
'avor of diversity as a compelling state interest,
'gome faculty members have hesitations about its
effect and implications in higher education.
Philosophy Prof. Carl Cohen said the continued
-ue of race in admissions is less of a victory than
if might seem.
"I regret the fact that the categories of race have
not been completely rejected by the court. I look for-
ward to the day when advantages and disadvantages
-On the basis of skis color are gone, are no longer
effective in our country. Someday that will happen,
'ad I hope it will be soon," he said.
Cohen spoke of the need for the country to tran-
*aend the categories of race and skin color to bring
about a more equal society.
- "Racial discrimination is wrong, it has always
-been wrong, it is wrong still. Equal protection of the
laws protect everyone whether they are white or
black or green or blue, and my hope is that that will
be made more effective in the years ahead," he said.
He added that while the court's decision is a
victory for the University, it was won on the
principle that the diversification of the incoming
dass is an educational benefit of great impor-
tance, and that race may continue to be used but
only in that narrow context.
"These decisions do not at all refer to compensa-
tory arguments or remediation or leveling the playing
field, all of that has been put aside, it was put aside in
Bakke and has been put aside again," he said. "It is a
justification of race only for the narrow purposes of
increasing the educational benefits in the Law
School, that's all."
Rackham Dean Earl Lewis said the Supreme
Court rightfully recognized the continuing impor-
tance of race in American society, in that it is still a
compelling state interest.
"This is a step towards a race-neutral society,
this is different than being color-blind. I don't
know if we will ever live in a color-blind society,
but a race-neutral society - where one's position
in life does not depend on his or her race - is
preferable," Lewis said.
Lewis added that in addition to inspiring
national debate over affirmative action, the law-
suits demonstrated that current University
admissions policies are in accordance with the
Bakke decision of 1978.
"The impact of this ruling is immediate. It
tells the educational community that what we
have been doing since 1978 is constitutional,"
He added that the Supreme Court's ruling does not
spell the end of the affirmative action debate.
"Some who have challenged these practices will
continue to challenge them. The opponents of affir-
mative action will not go away, they will retool and
redirect their energies," Lewis said.
The ruling was important, said Center for African
and African-American Studies lecturer Nesha Haniff,
but there's more to be done.
"The ruling was fair in the context of a conserva-
tive court and administration, but the ruling did not
move us any further than Bakke."
She said race will remain a factor in the near
future, and that society needs to take more active
steps towards resolving the root of the problem.
"Race relations are not improved by court rulings,
but by the environments that court rulings set up.
Race relations are decided by certain government
policies - for example those dealing with the mili-
tary, the school system, poverty - not just affirma-
tive action, and these government policies are,
indirectly, racist in nature."
Vincent Hutchings, political science assistant pro-
fessor and research associate for the Center for Polit-
ical Studies, said he is worried about the future of
"The political right will continue to seek ways to
diminish and undermine affirmative action ... they
won't take it laying down."
He said he is also concerned about the way the
restructuring of the undergraduate admissions sys-
tem without a point system will affect the ability of
LSA to achieve a diverse environment.
"I thought the point system was fine, but more
importantly I'm interested in maintaining a racially
diverse intellectual environment," Hutchings said.
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