The University Record, November 5, 1997

Letters to the Editor


California alumna supports admissions practices

I read the article regarding admission practices with much interest. I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1977 and my daughter is now a freshman at U-M.

I am proud of the University's admission practices and feel that race should be considered. This practice of using race allows for a more diverse student body, providing my daughter and her fellow students further opportunities for growth than they would have in a student body that simply relied on grade point average and test scores. My husband and I want a well-rounded education for our daughter, one that prepares her to live in the real world with people of different backgrounds and experiences.

Our daughter has always wanted to attend the U-M and although there are many excellent colleges in California, we supported her choice. We have been very disappointed by the ending of the affirmative action programs for California universities and applaud U-M's integrity in fighting this lawsuit and in keeping their practices intact.

We wish you success in the resolution of this issue. (It may be of interest to know that my husband, daughter and I are Caucasian.)

Susan (Owens) LeDrew, '77, Bakersfield, Calif.


Admission based on potential, says LS&A Executive Committee

As members of the LS&A Executive Committee, we write to the students, faculty and staff of the College to express our concern that recent discussions of Collegiate admissions policies neglect an important point. Every student admitted to LS&A was accepted for the same fundamental reasons: each holds extraordinary promise for developing his or her own intellectual talents, for enlivening the intellectual activities of the University and for enhancing the well-being of society.

Earlier this month, a lawsuit challenging the College's admissions policies was filed in federal court. This suit brings to our own campus the national debate that has been going on for several years regarding the use of race as one factor in university admissions. We as individuals are committed to the concept of affirmative action, and we welcome the opportunity to place our personal values, as well as our expectations and aspirations for LS&A, before the public as the national debate unfolds. The issue of how American higher education can best serve our increasingly diverse population is important, and it merits the kind of serious discussion with suspended judgment that President Bollinger described in his inaugural address.

As this discussion proceeds, it is important that we remember the many things that unite us. After all, the goals, values and mission which we share are far more significant than any disagreements that may emerge among us. During this period, let us strive to treat all members of the LS&A community with respect and recognition of their belonging.

William James Adams, Department of Economics; Susan A. Gelman, Department of Psychology; Diane M. Kirkpatrick, Department of History of Art; Ludwig Koenen, Department of Classical Studies; Hugh L. Montgomery, Department of Mathematics; Henry N. Pollack, Department of Geological Sciences

Oct. 30, 1997

Giving preference by race demeaning

The University of Michigan should create a student body that contains as much diversity as it possibly can. Students can only benefit from a spectrum of people. However, the University of Michigan falsely mistakes diversity and color of skin. Michigan must admit students based on achievement, and not color of skin.

President Lee Bollinger claims that such discrimination is acceptable because "what is being attacked is a long-standing policy of the University of Michigan that is deeply rooted in the history, traditions and the identity of the University." This reasoning is illogical and immoral. Just because something is a "long-standing policy" does not make it acceptable. At certain points in history, beheadings, religious persecution and slavery were all legal. This does not mean they were humane. By his logic, everything that [was] believed over one hundred years ago, when Michigan was founded, should still be acceptable today because they are part of our tradition. Maybe we shouldn't allow women to vote.

By discriminating by race, the University does not really diversify itself. People of all races live together. Someone from Bloomfield Hills will have a different background than someone from Detroit, no matter what race either is. Giving preference to certain races demeans the people the University sets out to help. Accepting students who would not have been, because of the color of their skin, sends the wrong message to students and to society: the work you did wasn't good enough if you were of race A, but if you were of race B, then it was good enough. Looking at it like this, it seems as if one race is superior to the other. Thus, the University sends out the very message it wants to eliminate by accepting people based on the color of their skin.

The University of Michigan wants to have the most diverse environment for its students as possible. Though it is very admirable, admission of students by race not only doesn't ameliorate the problem, it compounds and worsens it.

Matt Buczynski, student, College of Engineering