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Accielife: Long-distance love • Page 3 Opinion: Saving Spike TV • Page 5
Volume 109 • Issue 157 • 6 pages
109 Years Serving Texas A&M University
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
“Education is the very foundation of good citizenship’.’
— Brown v. Board of Education, 1954
Court preserves affirmative action
Race can factor in
college admissions,
Court justices rule
By Anne Gearan
WASHINGTON — In its most significant
statement about race in a generation, a divided
Supreme Court allowed the nation’s colleges and
universities to select students based in part on
race, ruling Monday that diverse classrooms
mold good citizens and strong leaders.
The court emphasized that race cannot be the
overriding factor, but a majority acknowledged a
broad social value in encouraging all races to
leam and work together.
“In order to cultivate a set of leaders with
legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is nec
essary that the path to leadership be visibly open
to talented and qualified individuals of every race
and ethnicity,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
wrote for the 5-4 majority.
At issue was whether admissions policies that
give one racial group an edge unconstitutionally
discriminate against other groups.
In two decisions involving the University of
Michigan, the court underscored that racial quo
tas are unconstitutional but left room for the
nation’s public universities — and by extension
other public and private institutions — to seek
ways to take race into account.
“The court has in essence provided the nation
with a road map on how to construct affirmative
action programs in higher education that are con
stitutionally acceptable,” said NAACP President
Kweisi Mfume.
The court preserved the rules outlined 25
prs ago in a landmark ruling that underpin the
/ consideration of race at institutions or gatherings
as diverse as military academies, corporate
boardrooms and campus leadership retreats.
In the earlier ruling a different group of jus
tices struck down a quota system that had
excluded a white student from medical school,
but they allowed less structured forms of affir
mative action.
“Diversity is one of America’s greatest
strengths,” President George W. Bush said after
Monday’s ruling. “Today’s decisions seek a care
ful balance between the goal of campus diversity
and the fundamental principle of equal treatment
under the law.”
Opponents of affirmative action, including
some of Bush’s close advisers, had hoped the
Students cel
ebrate on the
campus of
the University
of Michigan
on Monday
after the
Court's deci
sion on the
use of race in
policy was
Below: Steve
Lee, a recent
graduate of
the University
of Michigan
School of
Law, studies
for the bar
exam in the
library. The
Court ruled
that the
nation’s pub
lic universi
ties may con
sider race in
Supreme Court would use this opportunity to ban
most considerations of race in any government
decision. The court is far more conservative than
in 1978, when it last ruled on affirmative action
in higher education admissions, and the justices
have put heavy conditions on government affir
mative action in other arenas over the past
O’Connor said the value of diverse class
rooms extends far beyond the campus. Justices
John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader
Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer joined her
endorsement of a program in place at the
University of Michigan’s law school.
The law school uses an inexact admissions
formula that gives extra consideration to blacks,
Hispanics and to applicants from other groups
the school says have historically suffered from
The program has produced minority enroll
ment of between 12 percent and 20 percent over
the past decade. There is no fixed target, the
school said.
See Court on page 2
A&M weighs top 10 percent, academic merit in admissions but is race-neutral
By Justin Smith
In a 5-4 ruling Monday, the U.S.
Supreme Court allowed universities
to give minority applicants an edge in
Texas A&M officials said it is too
early to tell what impact the decision
will have on A&M.
“We will look to the State
Attorney General’s office to interpret
what the U.S. Supreme Court deci
sion means for universities in Texas,”
A&M President Robert M. Gates said
in a statement.
Bill Perry, executive associate
provost, said admissions at A&M are
currently governed by two factors.
The first factor is the top 10 per
cent rule, which allows for students
in the top 10 percent of their graduat
ing high school class to receive auto
matic acceptance into A&M.
The second factor affects all stu
dents who are applying, but are out
side of the top 10 percent of their
high school class. These students are
considered on a multitude of factors
including academic record, perform
ance on standardized tests and com
munity service.
Race is not one of these factors,
Perry said.
“Admissions at Texas A&M is
race-neutral,” he said. “We have tar
geted certain schools and certain
Members of the A&M chapter of
The Young Texas Conservatives said
the decision was disappointing.
Mark McCaig, a junior business
administration major and vice chair
man of Legislative Affairs for the
A&M YTC, said other factors should
be considered when deciding who is
admitted to the University and who
is not.
“We feel that race should not be a
factor and admissions should be
based on merit,” he said.
McCaig said YTC feels the top 10
percent rule is a substitute for affir
mative action.
The African American Student
Coalition could not be reached
for comment.
The ruling affects tax-supported
schools and, by extension, private
schools as well as other institutions
that have looked for ways to boost
minority enrollment without violat
ing the Constitution’s guarantee
against discrimination.
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A&M seeks relief plan
to stem insurance woes
By True Brown
Graduate students and part-
time workers in the Texas A&M
System will be met with signifi
cant increases in their health
insurance costs in 2004, but
University officials say a plan
will be put in place to lessen the
burden on graduate students.
The System’s insurance plan
for 2004 was released Friday,
and it shows some part-time
workers facing as much as a
5379.48 per month increase in
health care costs. Some part-
time employees and graduate
students will go from paying
nothing for their health insur
ance to paying as much as
5179.35 per month.
The A&M System offers
three health care plans to its
part-time workers, and the new
rates show major increases in all
three categories. Employees
with families face the most
severe increases. In 2003,
employees with families paid
$92.26 per month, but those
same families will now pay
$475.74. On one of A&M’s
other plans, part-time employ
ees with families will see their
rates increase by $317.48 after
paying just $10 per month in
Chris Lavergne, a graduate
teaching assistant in agricultur
al education, is married and has
two children, ages 2 and 5.
Lavergne’s family could see
insurance costs go from
$108.80 per month to $426.67,
a 392 percent increase.
Lavergne’s wife stays at home
with their children, leaving him
as the household’s sole source
of income.
“(The increases are) disap
pointing to say the least,”
Lavergne said. “We’ll have to
make some contingency plans
Health Insurance Increases Writing program aims at
Average monthly health insurance increases . . ^ •
for A&M System part-time employees in 2004 improving science rhetoric
because that’s really expensive.
The first word that comes to my
mind is disappointment. It’s
unfortunate because one of the
good selling points of A&M was
that they provided affordable
health insurance to grad stu
dents, and now that it’s so
expensive it could, in a way, hurt
the school.”
Full-time employees are also
subject to increases, with the
biggest totaling $135.08 per
250 300
month for employees with fami
lies. Employees with a spouse
will see their monthly total rise
by $102.11. A&M Vice Provost
Bill Perry said the University is
taking the necessary steps to
help out graduate students with
the added costs.
“We're looking at ways to
ameliorate those costs,” Perry
said. “We’re going to do
See Insurance on page 2
By Megan Orton
A $481,850 grant was award
ed by the National Science
Foundation to the creators of a
writing program that incorpo
rates writing assignments into
courses such as mathematics,
biology and physics where writ
ing is not typically part of the
The program, titled Writing
for Assessment and Learning in
the Natural and Mathematical
Sciences, has shown evidence of
greater student learning at Texas
A&M and the University of
California at Los Angeles.
The goal of WALS is to pro
mote a deeper understanding of
content in students’ current
course work, said Margaret
Hobson, Texas Engineering
Experiment Station’s director.
Programs like these teach stu
dents to think about how to leam
things, referred to as metacogni
tion, Hobson said.
“Most students think of each
of their courses as separate and
encouraging students to piece
them together makes learning
deeper,” Hobson said.
“Connections are easier to
make, and they leam at a higher
Dr. Nancy Simpson, director
for the Center for Teaching
Excellence at A&M, will serve
as the project’s principal
Each of the three depart
ments will employ a co-princi
pal investigator from A&M: Dr.
Comer Patterson for biology, Dr.
A. Lewis Ford for physics and
Dr. Michael Stecher for mathe
matics. A co-principal investiga
tor from UCLA, Dr. Arlene
See Writing on page 2
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