Gates: Expects Flood of Emails as Mays Fails to Return Calls

Gates said he was prepared for a flood of e-mails on the subject and that

he hopes most Aggies see this as the “next logical step” in a new approach to picking the A&M student

body.

“My guess is that a lot of former students don’t really appreciate how little

impact legacy has had on the process in the real world,” he said. “If the reality is that legacy helped

300 get in, the perception of some Aggies is probably that it’s 3,000.”

He added that

A&M officials will continue to encourage students from Aggie families to apply for

admission.

Gates said he discussed the legacy decision with the A&M System Board of

Regents and members were supportive. Several regents — including Chairman Lowry Mays and Vice Chairman

Erle Nye, both A&M graduates — could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. [John LeBas

theeagle.com January 10, 2004]

See Official Gates statement of Jan. 9, 2004 below.

January 9, 2004

STATEMENT ON LEGACY

http://www.tamu.edu/president/speeche

s/040109legacy.html

Texas A&M University President Robert Gates

On

December 3, 2003, when I announced the comprehensive plan to recruit and enroll more minorities at

Texas A&M University, I stated that all students would be admitted based on individual merit and

potential contribution to the University community. Further, I stated at that time and in subsequent

meetings with legislators and internal and external groups that all admissions factors—including

legacy—were under review to ensure that we have a fair and equitable process. This was due in part to

our understanding that there was an inconsistency in the continued use of legacy in a merit-based

process.

We believe, as virtually every university in the country does, that students

whose family members have attended its university add value to what makes those institutions unique.

This is especially true at Texas A&M. At the same time, the solidity of the Aggie family and the

strength of the Aggie culture are not the result of four out of 100 points on an admissions evaluation.

For the three-fourths of our freshmen who were enrolled in the fall of 2003 under the top ten percent

law and automatic academic admission, legacy was irrelevant. Indeed, not one student of the more than

10,000 who were admitted was admitted solely on the basis of legacy. In fact, legacy has been a formal

part of A&M’s admissions process only since 1989 and has played far less of a role in admissions than

either Aggies or others probably believe.

In an admissions process based on individual

merit and potential contribution to the university community, prior affiliation with Texas A&M should

not be a criterion. We intend to continue to urge students from Aggie families to apply to A&M and, if

accepted, to enroll here. But, after consultation with each of the Texas A&M University System Regents,

I have decided that, effective immediately, Texas A&M will no longer award points for legacy in the

admissions review process.

I had intended that legacy be addressed in an ongoing review

of our admissions procedures. However, public perceptions of the fairness and equity of our process

clearly are important and require prompt action to deal with an obvious inconsistency in an admissions

strategy based on individual merit.

Indeed, in retrospect, this decision regarding

legacy should have been part of my December 3rd announcement and because it was not, Texas A&M has

suffered unfortunate negative publicity. I take full responsibility for that.

Today’s

announcement brings greater consistency and equity to our admissions decision making process. We will

continue our review.

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