- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2003

Two high-ranking Bush administration officials said yesterday it is appropriate for universities to take race into account in achieving student diversity.
On the round of Sunday morning television talk shows, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said a public university isn't doing its job if there is any segment of the public not adequately represented.
"I believe race should be a factor, among many other facts, in determining the makeup of the student body of a university," Mr. Powell said on CNN's "Late Edition." "And I think that reasonable people can differ over the case."
Mr. Powell, the first black secretary of state and an advocate of affirmative action, said he shared his views with Mr. Bush, who last week asked the Supreme Court to find the University of Michigan's policies unconstitutional.
"Whereas I have expressed my support for the policies used by the University of Michigan, the president, in looking at it, came to the conclusion that it was constitutionally flawed based on the legal advice he received," Mr. Powell said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "He came down on that side of the issue, and I understand why he did."
Miss Rice, the highest-ranking black in the White House, said she supports Mr. Bush's decision to file a brief in opposition to Michigan's program. She also acknowledged that there are "problems" with Michigan's selection policy and cited the points system.
But she said she believes it is important to consider race in the admissions process, if race-neutral means don't achieve diversity.
"I have said that I benefited at Stanford University from the fact they were trying to diversify their faculty," Miss Rice, a former Stanford provost, said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I think there is nothing wrong with that in the United States. It does not mean that one has to go to people of lower quality."
Mr. Bush filed a brief siding with three white students who have challenged the University of Michigan's policies for giving preferences to black and Hispanic applicants. Mr. Bush labeled the university's program a "quota system" and said it was unconstitutional.
However, the brief was silent on whether race can be a factor under some circumstances.


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