Stanford University

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Elaine C. Ray, News Service: (650) 723-7162,

President John Hennessy makes statement on affirmative action

President John Hennessy made the following statement on affirmative action at a meeting of the Faculty Senate, Jan. 23, 2003.


Stanford has long recognized the importance of a diverse student body to achieve its educational goals and meet its responsibility to help produce leaders equipped to face increasingly complex social and political realities in this country and the world.


In light of arguments that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this spring challenging University of Michigan admissions policies that take race and ethnicity into consideration in achieving a diverse student body, I thought it appropriate to reaffirm our commitment to diversity.


Selecting students for admission to a university such as Stanford is an incredibly difficult and intricate process. A wide range of considerations is taken into account, but academic performance and intellectual potential will always top that list. Nonetheless, we believe other factors play an important role in creating the best learning environment for all our students. The consideration of race and ethnicity as one factor among many in that admission process is consistent with our history as an institution and our belief that the next generation of leaders must reflect the strengths and talents of all our nation's citizens.


We remain committed to affirmative action, to the importance of diversity broadly defined, and to the principles set forth in the Supreme Court's 1978 decision in the Bakke case as practical and appropriate means to achieve such diversity. For that reason, we intend to work with colleagues at our peer institutions and participate in an amicus brief before the Supreme Court.


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