Academics, Clinton Criticize Anti-Affirmative Action Moves on Campuses
The American Association of University Professors has released a report calling for the University of California to reverse its July decision to dismantle affirmative action programs for women and minorities throughout the UC system. The report from the 44,000-member organization called the decision ill-advised, and indicated that the political motivation leading toward the decision was inappropriate. Meanwhile, the July decision itself is being charged as unlawful by the UC-Santa Barbara student newspaper, the Daily Nexus. The Nexus and one of its reporters have filed a lawsuit charging that Gov. Wilson and the UC Regents decided the issue in private before it was submitted for public debate and a public vote. An open meetings law forbids a quorum, or nine members of the board, from discussing in private their votes on a future action. According to the suit, which seeks an injunction barring implementation of the anti-affirmative action decision, regents were lobbied to support the resolution and were contacted by phone before the measure came for a public vote.
In response to affirmative action policies on another campus, President Clinton is urging the Supreme Court to allow the University of Texas to continue using race as a factor in admissions to achieve the goal of a diverse campus. In an amicus brief, lawyers for the administration wrote that the UT law school has "a compelling educational interest in maintaining a racially diverse student body." In March, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the school's affirmative action policy was unconstitutional, and the state has since filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. Solicitor General Drew S. Days III warned that, if allowed to stand, the ruling would eliminate affirmative action programs throughout the circuit, affecting Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and the ruling could return many prestigious institutions to being predominantly white, prolonging the effects of past segregation.
Media Resources: The Nando Net and Scripps-McClatchy Western - May 28, 1996; The San Francisco Examiner - May 27, 1996; Associated Press - May 24, 1996