The Other Gov. Bush: Jeb in Florida defends abolition of affirmative action

Tallahassee Democrat, Jan. 19, 2004:

Gov. Jeb

Bush went to Florida A&M University today and marked the King holiday by defending his “One Florida”

policies.

FAMU was the scene of many mass demonstrations against the governor’s 1999

executive orders that ended affirmative action in college admissions at Florida’s state universities.

But Bush said minority enrollment has increased over the past three years and that students now arrive

in college with higher test scores and better preparation to succeed.

About 20 FAMU

students silently walked out of the School of Business and Industry auditorium when Bush began

speaking. The governor said afterward their walkout “didn’t bother me a bit” and that the peaceful

protest was in keeping with Dr. King’s teachings.

more on “One Florida” below —-

-More telling, in terms of One Florida, is that the percentage of minority freshmen hardly has budged

from the systemwide 36 percent it has maintained for five years. Gov. Bush said One Florida would pump

up those numbers. Worse, at the state’s flagship school, the University of Florida, the percentage of

African-American freshmen has fallen from 11.8 percent to 7.2 percent, and the percentage of Hispanic

students from 12 percent to 11 percent, in the first full year since One Florida took

effect.

“We are proud of the continuing success of the One Florida Initiative,” said

the lieutenant governor. Success? The added 577 minority freshmen are fewer than the 850 to 1,200

increases of recent years. The administration’s spin must be that if minority enrollment has held

steady since Gov. Bush banned race as a consideration in university admissions, that amounts to

success. Apparently, success depends on whether you want a political or an educational victory. [Palm

Beach Post, Sept. 7, 2001, “A Freshman’s Failure,” Editorial.]—–

—–Figures

released by the Florida Department of Education in September said minority students made up 34.3

percent of total enrollment at the 11 state universities, an increase of 2.1 percent from 1998. For the

first time, minority enrollment topped 37 percent among first-year college students. [Tallahassee

Democrat, Jan. 20, 2004, “Bush praises historically black schools,” by Bill Cotterell.]—–

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