Higher Education Uncategorized

Email from President Gates


from Cynthia J. Lawson, Exec. Dir. Univ. Relations, TAMU (Feb. 16, 2004)


providing you the comments from Gates you requested, I thought you would want to know that I followed

up regarding the students’ decision
about the rally (per your earlier e-mail to me about the

Battalion article). I was told that the students misunderstood the intention of the rally.

Because the FCIC has some viewpoints about how diversity can best be achieved at A&M,

because those viewpoints are different from those of Dr. Gates, apparently some of the students

believed that if they supported the Diversity Rally, some might misconstrue that support as a vote of

non-support for Dr. Gates.

They clearly did not want that misperception. The fact

is… the Office of the President IS a co-sponsor of the Diversity Rally; the students are being

advised of that. Dr. Gates truly believes that while there is, no
doubt, a variety of viewpoints

as to how A&M can best achieve a more diverse campus, those differences are secondary to the purpose of

the rally itself – namely
to demonstrate the broad support for diversity at this


Having said that, the following are the specific comments you requested for

your article:

“Since assuming the presidency of Texas A&M University more than a year and a

half ago, I have made efforts to enhance diversity — diversity in both
the faculty and student

body — among my highest priorities.

I valued the recommendations of the task force

appointed to consider revising admissions and related policies. There was open and prolonged debate

about the explicit use of race as a factor in admissions, and I carefully weighed all of them.

After much thought, I decided that, for Texas A&M
University, diversity would be best accomplished

by basing admissions decisions on individual qualities — potential and merit — while accompanying

assessments with an aggressive outreach effort to attract more minority students. That effort

includes creating nearly 2,300 new socio-economically
targeted scholarships. Based on past

experience, at least half of those new scholarships likely will go to minority students — both African

American and

Texas A&M University was the first university in the state to

appoint a cabinet-level official responsible for increasing diversity. Also, to the best of my

knowledge, Texas A&M is the only university in the state subsequent to the Michigan decision to adopt

new admissions requirements that create more opportunities for minorities. Be assured that I strongly

believe that we are doing just that — creating more opportunities for minorities.

While I did not expect all members of the campus community to agree with my decision, I

am encouraged by the amount of support this new policy has received. Because of their loyalty to this

university, many who did not support my decision are nevertheless working passionately to promote

the university’s diversity goals. This serves as evidence of the strong sense of community that

permeates this institution.

In the final analysis, each university should, in my

opinion, adopt policies and strategies that offer the best hope — and opportunity — for

minority enrollment at that specific institution. I believe we have done that at Texas

A&M University, and I am fully committed to attaining that objective.”

Robert M. Gates,

President, Texas A&M University

By mopress

Writer, Editor, Educator, Lifelong Student

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