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UNI administrator split on Supreme Court's split decision

June 23, 2003

Michael Blackwell, director, multicultural education, (319) 273-2250
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

The Supreme Court ruled Monday morning that, while it is still in the country's best interest to adhere to affirmative action policies, the system used at the University of Michigan is unconstitutional.

'Because the court didn't really give any practical suggestions for how best to use affirmative action in admissions policies, the stage is set for more lawsuits,' says Michael Blackwell, director of multicultural education at UNI. 'But I do look upon the court's decision as a victory. The decision supports affirmative action, endorses it, and says affirmative action needs to be taken to address and redress gross inequities due to past discrimination of people of color.'

Blackwell says he would likely have participated in protests had the court ruled against affirmative action policies in general. 'I believe there is value in having a culturally diverse environment. Students of color need to see others like themselves on campus and be able to communicate with people like themselves. It benefits the majority population because they need to be exposed to different cultures; it broadens perspectives and deepens insight about society at large.'