WMU News

President Bailey addresses affirmative action rulings

June 24, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- In an open letter to the Western Michigan University community, Dr. Judith I. Bailey, president of WMU, addressed yesterday's Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action in university admission practices.

To the University Community:

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down split decisions on the University of Michigan affirmative action cases. The court affirmed the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body and held that universities may use race as one factor in admission decisions. The court, though, did put limits on the methods used to achieve diversity, and struck down the point system used by Michigan to make admission decisions at the undergraduate level.

I am delighted that the Supreme Court clearly recognizes the intrinsic value of diversity in the educational setting. Achieving a diverse student body has long been a goal of Western Michigan University and will continue to be one. However, decisions about admission to WMU's freshman class are focused not on a point system, but on the merits of each individual student's academic history and potential for academic success at our University. By relying on these measures and on effective recruiting and outreach programs, we will continue to put together incoming classes that are vibrant, well qualified and diverse.

Accordingly, we do not expect the Supreme Court's ruling will significantly impact our University's admission process. We will, of course, look closely at the rulings and carefully assess all of our policies in light of what the court has said in these landmark cases affecting higher education.

Again, the message from the Supreme Court is clear. WMU's commitment to achieving a diverse student body is constitutional, appropriate, and in the long-range educational interests of our students.

Dr. Judith I. Bailey
President, Western Michigan University

Visit the Web site for the Office of the President at <www.wmich.edu/president> for other messages from President Bailey or for complete information on how to contact the president.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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