March 2003
(As Adopted March 28, 2003)

Report and Resolution in Support of Affirmative Action at Rutgers University

Responding to Charge S-0305:  “Consider and report on the status of Affirmative Action at Rutgers and in the United States.”


American society currently is at the threshold of a momentous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of affirmative action in higher education. The decision in the two cases from the University of Michigan, Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger, will determine whether institutions of higher learning can continue to consider race, ethnicity and gender among other factors in admissions decisions. The Supreme Court will hear these cases on April 1, 2003, with a decision expected in June 2003.

Affirmative action was established to redress centuries of discrimination and exclusivity and to establish a more democratic society in which there would be economic and social inclusion and integration. Despite significant progress over the last 30 years, students of color remain under-represented at American colleges, universities, graduate and professional programs. This is particularly so for African American, Latino, and Native American students.  The current debate also fails to recognize the significant opportunities afforded to women through affirmative action.

As educators in a broad range of academic disciplines, we recognize the importance of diversity in the classroom and throughout the educational environment. We know that our students learn not only from us, but also from each other in formal and informal interactions. We also know that only an environment that is rich in racial, ethnic, and many other forms of diversity will facilitate the highest educational accomplishment by our students and prepare them to work effectively in the global community.


Whereas, Rutgers University is an institution that values diversity, equality, and access to higher education;

Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Rutgers University Senate hereby supports continued consideration of race, ethnicity and gender in affirmative action policies in admissions; and

Be It Further Resolved that the Senate urges the U.S. Supreme Court to reaffirm this legal principle; and

Be It Finally Resolved that the Senate urges the University President to strive to find ways of ensuring diversity on campus irrespective of the Supreme Court decision.

Respectfully Submitted by the Equal Opportunity Committee:
DeRosa, Thomas, Rutgers (S), Co-Chair
Wadia, Pheroze, NFAS (F), Co-Chair
Barnes, Zowie, Cook (S)
Friedrich, Gustav, SCILS Dean (A)
Hawkesworth, Mary, FAS-NB (F)
Lehman, Richard, Engineering (F)
Markowitz, Norman, Livingston (F)
Marsh, Margaret, FAS-C Dean (A)
Massenburg, Aminah, CCAS (S)
Redd, Jason, Graduate Student BOT Representative (S)
Schlegel, James, UC-N (F)
Tsurumi, Hiroki, FAS-NB (F)
Weis, Judith, NCAS (F)

Originally submitted by Stuart Deutsch, Dean and Professor of Law, Newark