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Updated 10:00 AM February 5, 2007




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Gratz v. Bollinger case concludes

The Gratz v. Bollinger lawsuit was dismissed Jan. 31 as the result of an agreement among the parties. This ruling constitutes the end of the case.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's historic 2003 decisions upholding diversity as a compelling interest, but requiring changes in the mechanics of U-M's undergraduate admissions process, the court returned the Gratz v. Bollinger case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for further proceedings.

In last week's agreement, the District Court approved the proposed settlement, in which the plaintiffs (Gratz and Hamacher) agreed to drop all claims under the lawsuit in exchange for $10,000 each to cover miscellaneous costs. They will not receive damages.

"The University is pleased with today's resolution of the case," says Kelly Cunningham, U-M spokesperson. "The case was dismissed and there was no finding that the University's pre-2003 admissions policies caused injury to the plaintiffs."

In January 2005 the U.S. District Court significantly reduced plaintiffs' requests for attorney's fees from more than $2 million to approximately $670,000. This decision was followed in October 2005 by the court's ruling that, in order to be awarded damages, each individual applicant would need to show that he or she had been harmed by the University's admissions policies. That finding prompted discussions among the parties, which resulted in last week's decision.

On June 23, 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decisions in two challenges to the consideration of race as one of many factors in certain admissions processes at U-M: Grutter v. Bollinger et al. (Law School) and Gratz v. Bollinger et al. (undergraduate LSA). The court said consideration of race as one of many factors in the pursuit of a diverse student body is a compelling interest that produces educational benefits for all students, and further held that any consideration of race must be done in an individualized and holistic way.

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