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The following statements were issued by University of Michigan leaders in response to a ruling today (March 27) by Judge Bernard Friedman in the Law School admissions lawsuit, Grutter v. Bollinger et. al.

U-M President Lee C. Bollinger:
"Today's decision conflicts with settled Supreme Court law and the policies of virtually every selective university in the country for nearly 30 years. It rejects Justice Powell's 1978 opinion in Bakke. It is also contrary to the December decisions of Judge Duggan regarding our undergraduate admissions and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the University of Washington case.

"Our policy is fully constitutional. I remain as confident today as I was in 1992 when our policy was adopted that pursuing educational excellence through diversity is a compelling governmental interest. Like Brown v. Board of Education, the Bakke decision has served our country and our educational institutions well. We must not abandon the course at this stage of our nation's history.

"We will appeal this decision and are confident that we will prevail in a higher court. We will also seek an immediate stay of the court's order so that we can continue our efforts to offer an integrated legal education at Michigan."

U-M Law School Dean Jeffrey Lehman:
"In this case, we provided the Court with overwhelming evidence that racial diversity is critical to a high-quality legal education. Judge Friedman accepted that evidence, and concluded that we have established that racial and ethnic diversity is an 'important and laudable goal.' Judge Friedman erred, however, when he declared that this goal does not justify the competitive consideration of race as a factor in our admissions process. His analysis is squarely inconsistent with the Supreme Court's holding in Bakke, and we have complete confidence that our position will be vindicated on appeal to the Sixth Circuit."

U-M Provost Nancy Cantor:
"The University has undertaken the most comprehensive defense of diversity in higher education. The evidence we presented was found to be 'substantial' by Judge Duggan and was cited extensively in his December decision upholding our undergraduate admissions policy. We have documented with empirical evidence that racial and ethnic diversity enhance learning and the preparation of our students to work and participate as citizens in our increasing diverse society. Judge Friedman's ruling interprets our constitution so narrowly as to ignore these profound implications for our democracy. Our policies have been supported by virtually every sector of society including business, higher education, labor and government. We are confident that we will prevail in a higher court."

Contact: Julie Peterson
Phone: (734) 936-5190

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