NOW Blasts White House Opposition to U. Michigan Policy, Points Out Bush Benefitted From Affirmative Action
January 16, 2003
"After thirty years of progress in the inclusion of people of color into higher education and other institutions, the White House is advocating a huge leap backward," said National Organization for Women (NOW) President Kim Gandy. The White House filed a brief with the Supreme Court today opposing the University of Michigan's affirmative action policy, which will be argued in early April.
"The Administration's response was appalling on many levels," Gandy said. "Consider the comments of an unnamed White House official who told the Washington Post that 'we need to try, if at all possible, to promote the broadest amount of diversity without taking race into account.' Is he kidding? A commitment to diversity in everything except race? That's Orwellian doublespeak."
"There has always been affirmative actionbut for many years it operated to exclude women and people of color. Consider one example," said Gandy, "There is little doubt that George W. Bush's grades were lower than those of hundreds of students who were rejected by Yale the same year Bush was welcomed there."
"Yes, George W. Bush was a beneficiary of one kind of affirmative actionthe kind that favored the sons of (overwhelmingly white) Yale graduates. Yet there has been no White House denunciation of the 'extra points' universities still give to children of big donors or former graduatesonly a condemnation of efforts to offset that by considering race and ethnic background. Those diversity factors contribute much more to the breadth and depth of academic life, and are more deserving of affirmative consideration, than the wealth and connections that currently receive extra credit."
"The White House has done a complete 180 since the Trent Lott fiasco," Gandy said. "On December 16, Lott said 'I'm for affirmative action,' in an interview with BET. Now it's time for Lott and Frist, those born-again civil rights supporters, to step up to the plate in support of expanding opportunities.
"The outcome of the U. Michigan affirmative action case will determine whether we move toward opportunities for all or backtrack toward resegregation," Gandy said. "Despite the Bush Administration's inaccurate claims, the University of Michigan policies are not racial quotas. They open doors and provide opportunities for learning and cultural exchange that benefit students of all races."
"It's too late to tell Bush to butt out of this case, so instead I'll remind him that the Supreme Court justices don't work for him," Gandy said. "On the day of the oral arguments in the University of Michigan cases, feminists will march with other civil rights supporters to protect affirmative actionand to continue opening doors for all those who have been excluded from the full bounty of this country.
###For Immediate Release
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