The University Record, January 15, 2001


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Apology, thanks, honor needed in LS&A admissions lawsuit

It is wholly understandable that in its reporting of the decision rendered by Judge Duggan (Record, Dec. 18, 2000), emphasis should be placed on that aspect of the ruling that held the admissions process since 1998 and currently in place to be legal and permissible.

But an informed University community ought also take note that plaintiffs in the lawsuit (applicants Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher) prevailed in their contention that at the time of their application for admission as undergraduates, the University application process was illegal, unconstitutional, impermissible, and that it was so at the time that the Center for Individual Rights (CIR) filed a lawsuit on their behalf.

Judge Duggan found that the system employed [at] that time was substantially as Prof. Carl Cohen describes in his book, Naked Racial Preference. Whether these young people will be found to have been injured by that illegal applications system and whether, if so, a legal remedy will ever be found for that injury remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, however, it seems clear that University administrators (sometimes confused with “the University”) owe them at least an apology. Administration also owes a vote of thanks to the Center for Individual Rights and to Prof. Carl Cohen, whose lawsuit and whose critical endeavors obviously played no little role in suggesting to it the advisability of fashioning a revised admissions system that, as Judge Duggan put it, crossed the line from impermissible to permissible. We await news of the apology and thanks to CIR and honoring of Prof. Cohen.

Leo McNamara, professor emeritus of English