Racial quotas cause President Bush to scorn admissions standards

By Abigail Keefe
January 30, 2003

Matthew Cavailer

Recently, some larger universities, like the University of Michigan, have been under fire by President George W. Bush for maintaining quota based, race-conscious policies in their admissions process. Cabrini is unlike those larger universities in that it does not award extra points to minorities to gain a diverse freshman class.

“At their core, the Michigan policies amount to a quota system which unfairly rewards or penalizes perspective students, based solely on their race,” Bush said. He then went on to say that these policies awarded students a significant number of extra points based solely on their race, establishing numerical targets for incoming minority students.

Cabrini’s affirmative action policy comes from the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They have a deep commitment to promoting respect for the dignity of the person as an individual and to reaching out to those persons who are marginalized in the community.

This policy clearly states that Cabrini College is committed to the principle idea of equal employment and an educational opportunity for all qualified persons. This is regardless of race, religion, color, gender, national origin, age (40 or above), handicap disability, veteran status, or marital/parental status.

Cabrini does not discriminate against capable individuals when recruiting and admitting new students. Nor does this discrimination occur in the recruitment and employment of faculty, staff or the operation of any of its programs and activities. This is as stated by applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

“We’re different. Because we are a small, liberal arts school, we lack that sense of competition that some of the larger university schools might carry when taking admissions into consideration. We mostly look to see if a student can be academically successful,” Gary Johnson, dean for enrollment services, said.

In the programs under review by the Supreme Court, the University of Michigan has established an admissions process based on race. At the undergraduate level, African American students and some Hispanic students and Native American students receive 20 points out of a maximum of 150. Not because of any academic achievement or life experience, but solely because they are African American, Hispanic or Native American.

A perfect SAT score is worth only 12 points in the Michigan system. Students who accumulate 100 points are generally admitted, so those 20 points awarded just because of race are often the decisive factor.

Then, at the law school of U of M, some minority students are admitted to meet percentage targets while other applicants with higher grades and better scores are passed over. This means that students are being selected or rejected based primarily on the color of their skin.

These are the main factors that play into the president’s disapproval of Michigan’s admissions policies. “The motivation for such an admissions policy may be very good, but its result is discrimination and that discrimination is wrong,” Bush said. He strongly voices his opinion that these acts are unconstitutional.

The University of Michigan’s president, Mary Sue Coleman, argued against Bush’s statements: “In our undergraduate admissions system, fully 110 points out of 150 are given for academic factors including grades, test scores and curriculum,” Coleman said. “We only count 12 points for test scores, but that is because we value high school

grades to a much greater extent. Here they can earn up to 80 points. We consider many other factors as well. A student who is socio-economically disadvantaged also can earn 20 points. However, students cannot earn 20 points for both factors. Geographic diversity also is important. A student from Michigan’s upper peninsula, for example, earns 16 points. We also consider leadership, service and life experiences, among other elements.”

Several key groups already have come forward in support of the U of M. A few weeks ago, 34 higher education associations wrote a letter urging Bush to side with the University. Earlier then that, several leaders of a dozen Hispanic organizations did the same.

Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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