Wed. Jan 15, 2003 US president Bush challenges U of Mich admission policy, and U of Mich president Mary Sue Coleman


President Bush opposes the University of Michigan's Admissions Policies:
The hard facts and soft facts of students' performance

Nipawin - Thuesday - January 16, 2003 - by: Mario deSantis

"It is unfortunate that the President misunderstands how our admissions process works at the University of Michigan. It is a complex process that takes many factors into account and considers the entire background of each student applicant."

Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan President



individual and
common good

For me, one definition of democracy is the dynamic balance to reconcile individual good with common good. This kind of understanding is universally applicable to successfully solve any complex problem we encounter in our different social predicaments.



issue of
race quota

Yesterday, President Bush challenged the constitutionality of the University of Michigan's undergraduate and law school admissions policies and stated that such policies are an unconstitutional
"quota system that unfairly rewards or penalizes prospective students based solely on their race."
In order to understand the appropriateness of the admission policies followed by the University of Michigan we must understand the language the two parties use in supporting their different positions.



black and
white view

Once again, I am going to use the reflective understanding of "Systems thinking" as opposed to the "Linear Thinking" mentality of president Bush. Systems Thinking provides the understanding that intelligent individual good is embedded within intelligent common good, and as a consequence we cannot separate individual intelligence from collective intelligence. Linear thinking refers to the obtuse mentality to see the world as evidenced by hard facts, or metaphorically to see the world as either black or white.




This is the philosophical barrier between President Bush and the University of Michigan as President Bush cannot comprehend the meaning of collective intelligence. President Bush can only understand the hard facts of life and this is why he elevates the hard facts of superior students' high marks to intelligent common sense. In fact, President Bush suggests that the University of Michigan should refer to the admission practices of the state of Texas in which students in the top 10 percent of each high school class are guaranteed admission to the University of Texas. Instead, the University of Michigan's Law School admission policies make reference not only to the hard facts of students' marks but also to the soft facts such as
"the enthusiasm of recommenders, the quality of the undergraduate institution, the quality of the applicant's essay, and the areas and difficulty of undergraduate course selection."




I personally reject President Bush's position that the hard facts of students' marks must be the absolute index for university admission. We must understand that all measurements are an act of selection and therefore the students marks cannot be an absolute index to discern the students' future performance in a socially complex environment. We must also consider the soft facts characterizing students' performance.

Mario deSantis

  Statement by University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman January 15, 2003
  President Bush Discusses Michigan Affirmative Action Case. Remarks by the President on the Michigan Affirmative Action Case. January 15, 2003
  Report and Recommendations of the Admissions Committee, The University of Michigan Law School, 4/22/92


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