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UNI administrator says need for Affirmative Action is strong

Contact: 

Winston Burt, assistant to the president for Compliance and Equity Management, (319) 273-2848
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761



The University of Michigan is facing challenges to its admissions policies, which some charge unfairly favor students of color. President George W. Bush said earlier this week that he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the university's policies.

But Winston Burt, assistant to the president for Compliance and Equity Management at the University of Northern Iowa, said Affirmative Action methods used by universities are imperative to diversity. 'Affirmative Action is an outreach program to minorities and women saying, 'Here are programs we'd like to see you participate in if you meet our requirements.'' You're telling them there's an equal opportunity. Affirmative Action guarantees nothing.'

Burt says that, although many are likening the University of Michigan's approach to a quota program, that isn't the case. 'The quota argument comes from an element that wants to deflect our attention away from the real issue. When you interject quotas into any program, you do, in effect, deny opportunity.'