News wrap up: Clinton speaks to American Council on Education

WASHINGTON — President Bill Clinton thanked the American Council on
Education (ACE) during the organization’s annual meeting late last
month. The occasion marked the third time Clinton has addressed ACE,
the premier voice of higher education, since he took office in 1992.

Clinton thanked ACE for passing a resolution supporting his
education initiative and said the plan is his way of enabling the
federal government to create the conditions necessary to give all
Americans the opportunity to realize their dreams and build strong
lives and families.’

“College means opportunity for tomorrow.” Clinton said. Creating
that opportunity is our responsibility today.” He also encouraged the
ACE members to embrace the nation’s diversity as an asset, not “It is a
godsend to be the world’s most multicultural nation,” he said.

The last day of the conference featured two sessions on affirmative
action. The first, chaired by University of Maryland-Eastern Shore
President Dr. Delores R. Spikes, explored the aftermath of the Hopwood
Texas and Proposition 209. Hopwood, as the case is known, was a U.S.
Fifth Circuit case which determined that race could not be used as a
factor in admissions at the University of Texas Austin law school.
Proposition 209 was a referendum passed by voters in California that
bans the use of affirmative action.

Panelists included: Barbara Bader Aldave. dean of Mary’s University
School of Law in Texas Norma V. Cantu, assistant secretary of Civil
Rights at the U.S. Department of Education; Dennis J. Galligani,
assistant vice president of the University of California and William R.
Yeomans, deputy assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of
Justice.

Cantu told the audience that in spite of Hopwood, which only
affects Texas, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) considers Bakke; the
law of the land. The Bakke case, decided by the Supreme Court allows
race to he used as one factor in admissions decisions.

Cantu said that the Office of Civil Rights is searching for
research partners on several projects including a study of race-based
scholarships. According Yeomans, the Justice Department is actively
looking for opportunities to appeal Hopwood and invited those present
to contact hits agency if they are familiar with an;case that might
provide just such an opportunity.

At another session. Celinda Lake. president of Lake Research,
presented findings from a survey her market re search firm did for ACE
on American’s perceptions of affirmative action within higher education
institutions.

“There is a lot of mythical information out there about affirmative
action” Lake said. ‘We found that people like the idea of diversity, as
long as it doesn’t interfere with their kid getting into college.”
Words like quotas and preferences were viewed negatively by a majority
of the people who participated in her study. She suggested that
educators search for a new lexicon to describe affirmative action
strategies, programs and goals. The afternoon session focused on the
future of affirmative action.

Dr. R. Eileen Baccus, president of Northwestern Connecticut
Community-Technical College, was elected chair of’ ACE’s Commission on
Minorities in Higher Education. Keynote speakers at the conference
included Kofi Annan. secretary general of the United Nations: Dr.
Yolanda T. Moses, president of the City University of New York City
College; and Ingrid Saunders Jones, chair of the Coca-Cola foundation
and vice president of the Coca-Cola Company.

COPYRIGHT 1997 Cox, Matthews & Associates



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