U.S. Supreme Court rules on University of Michigan cases
June 23, 2003
To the University of Michigan community:
Today we received the decisions of the Supreme Court regarding
admissions cases. This is a day of enormous pride for the University of
A majority of the Court has strongly reaffirmed the principle
articulated by Justice Powell in the Bakke decision. The Court said that
it "endorses Justice Powell's view that student body diversity is a
compelling state interest." Universities can continue to use race as one
of many factors in an individualized admissions process.
From the outset, this has been a debate about the principles to
are dedicated at this great University, not merely about our policies.
These decisions are a wonderful victory for the University of Michigan,
for all of higher education, and for the hundreds of groups and thousands
of individuals who supported us.
The Court has provided two important signals. The first is a green
to pursue racial and ethnic diversity in the college classroom. The
second is a pathway to get us there. The Law School policy clearly met
the Court's criteria for a holistic admissions process. We will modify our
undergraduate admissions process to follow today's guidance from the
Court. I am confident we can do that as we continue our commitment to a
richly diverse student body. We expect to have a revised undergraduate
admissions process in place this Autumn.
I believe these rulings will go down in history as landmark decisions
the Court. And I am proud of the role of the University of Michigan in
this important debate. We argued for fair and equal access. Now, we will
do whatever it takes to recruit the finest, most diverse student body
possible, within the provisions of today's decisions.
We must look to the future and affirm our institutional commitment
diversity in every aspect of our community: our student body, our
faculty, and our staff.
These decisions affect not only our own University, but universities,
public and private, throughout the nation. I pledge to you that the
University of Michigan will take the lead in creating new ways to infuse
our campuses with the myriad perspectives that fuel our strength.
We will make a dual promise to future generations of students
and to our
alumni, who are so proud of their Michigan heritage: First, our
commitment to a diverse campus will continue. And second, every student
admitted to our University will continue to be eminently well qualified.
As we work to ascertain the ramifications of these decisions and
means to work within them, I expect that members of our community will
engage in a full and robust debate of many related issues. I anticipate
this discussion will be civil and respectful of all points of view. Your
right to freedom of expression is paramount at the University of Michigan.
This is a hallmark of our educational system, and one of which I am most
In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to provide updated
information on our main University WWW site.
This is an historic day for our University. You may look to me
leadership as we adapt to the new provisions of the law, and I will look
to all of you for inspiration.
With my best wishes,
Mary Sue Coleman