- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2003

Preconceptions cloud letter’s conclusion

In light of the Supreme Court decision on Grutter v. Bollinger, in which the use of race is upheld in the admissions process, Lloyd R. Cohen’s letter (“A thumb on the racial scale,” Forum, June 15) deserves a second look. In his letter, Mr. Cohen makes two assertions: first, that race plays a predominant role in the admissions process at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, and second, that the use of race is discriminatory and illegal.

In both of his assertions, Mr. Cohen is misguided. Race has not played a predominant role in admissions at Jefferson, and the use of race as a “plus factor” in admitting a student has been upheld repeatedly in the courts.

The qualifications of accepted minority students at Thomas Jefferson High School follow closely those of admitted Caucasian students. The average rank (a number between 1 and 800) of admitted Caucasians was just 50 places better than non-Caucasians. Also, the ranks of admitted students of a significant minority group were a full 20 points better than those of admitted Caucasian students.

Mr. Cohen stresses the importance of how much lower the ranks of accepted black students were than the ranks of accepted Caucasian students, but such a conclusion is tempered by the fact that only a small number of cases (11) were available to analyze the level of difficulty black students have in being accepted. The larger number of multiethnic students (49) makes it significant that admitted students of this minority group had better scores than admitted Caucasian students. The test scores overall illustrate that minority students are somewhere in the middle of the group of admitted students.

Having shown that race does not play a “predominant” role in the admissions process at Thomas Jefferson High School, it is important to analyze whether race can play any role in the admissions process. Mr. Cohen argues that anything other than a colorblind admissions process is illegal, but he ignores the precedent established in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and recently in Grutter v. Bollinger.

General legal thought has centered around the belief that race can be used in the admissions process as long as there is a compelling interest to create a diverse student body and the policy of including race as a factor is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. There must be no quotas to meet, no seats that are set aside, no target percentage for minority students. The process of admissions at Thomas Jefferson High School meets these qualifications.

When race is considered in the admissions process, it is possible to create a diverse student body that is both highly qualified and more conducive to fostering understanding and creation than those created under a colorblind admissions process. If all admissions processes were colorblind, as Mr. Cohen seems to want, America’s universities increasingly would be represented by just one color.

DAVE MARTIN

Washington

EU membership could permanently divide Cyprus

I wish to set the record straight on a piece in Tuesday’s World scene (“Divided nation ratifies EU membership”). Cyprus may be a divided island, but it is certainly not a “divided nation.” The entity that has ratified membership in the European Union is not Cyprus per se, but the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

This unilateral act does not bind the Turkish Cypriots or their sovereign state — the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which was born out of the Turkish Cypriot people’s inherent right to self-determination and decades-long disenfranchisement by their Greek Cypriot former partners.

The 1959-1960 Agreements of Zurich and London, which gave rise to the establishment of the binational Republic of Cyprus of 1960, as well as the Treaty of Guarantee of the same date signed by Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom and the two parties in Cyprus, specifically forbade the membership of Cyprus in international conglomerations. These include the European Union, of which Greece is a member, but Turkey is not.

This was established to maintain the Greco-Turkish balance over the island and preserve stability. The impending unilateral membership of the Greek Cypriot administration in the European Union — before a political settlement in Cyprus has been reached — threatens to destroy these regional checks and balances and divide Cyprus permanently.

OSMAN ERTUG

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Safety, over autonomy, for the District

Adrienne T. Washington’s Friday column (“Whims of meddlers violate D.C. autonomy,” Metropolitan) illustrates exactly the attitude that must be overcome before the Third World streets of the District of Columbia are rehabilitated.

Mrs. Washington uses the common “don’t tell us what to do” defense for supporting D.C. home rule, even though the District’s murder rate, the highest in the country, is even higher than that of Baghdad. There are children dead in the streets, a corrupt city government, a functionally illiterate populace and an equally dysfunctional city educational program. All Mrs. Washington appears to be concerned with is the District’s autonomy.

Well, Mrs. Washington, where has your previous autonomy gotten you? The only thing done right in the District is parking enforcement, of which the entire country stands in awe. Beyond that, Mrs. Washington, please point to one thing of which the District can be proud. I can think of a no more ridiculous law to pass than home rule for the District.

Gentlemen such as Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, are trying to step in to give District residents some sense of security by enforcing the laws on the books; i.e., restoring the Second Amendment to the Constitution, pursuant to the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. The District’s 27 years of the toughest gun control has proved one certainty: Gun control does not work. Let us permit Mr. Hatch and the Personal Protection Act to allow District residents to bear arms.

Even with the highest police presence of any urban area in the nation, the District is still the most dangerous place to live. Does Mrs. Washington support allowing D.C. residents their rights under the Second Amendment? Heck no, because legislation such as the Personal Protection Act is sponsored by a non-District individual.

Many folks, myself included, now living in Maryland, Virginia and neighboring areas would love to live in the District, but refuse to do so with the likes of Mrs. Washington; Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Democrat; and others defying common sense with their relentless crusade for autonomy and home rule. In short, Mrs. Washington, the District has clearly demonstrated that it is unable to manage anything and that others need to come in to clean up your mess. The quicker the better.

CHRIS BRAHMSTEDT

Falls Church


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