Indiana University

News Release

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Last modified: Wednesday, February 19, 2003

IU files amicus brief in support of University of Michigan

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Indiana University today (Feb. 19) filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the University of Michigan in its affirmative action admissions policy case Grutter v. Bollinger.

The university said it supports consideration of race as a factor in admissions because a diverse student body is important to its ability to provide the highest quality education to all of its students. In its brief, the university said it has relied on the judgment rendered in the landmark 1978 decision California Board of Regents v. Bakke in utilizing race and ethnicity as one of many factors in its law school admissions policy. Further, the university cited the State of Indiana's commitment to diversity in legal education as reason for its support of Bakke.

"We believe strongly in the importance of diversity in the learning experience for our students. Race is only one of many factors that contribute to consideration of candidates for the IU Bloomington School of Law, but if use of race in pursuit of diversity is determined unconstitutional, our ability to admit a student body that best meets our academic mission would be compromised," said IU Interim President Gerald Bepko.

"Faculty at the IU School of Law have determined that a diverse student body in the school is an important part of the school's effort to provide the highest quality education possible to all of its students and thereby to compete with other law schools and to serve the professional community and legal client base in Indiana," said the university's brief.

The law school's admissions committee has determined that undergraduate grade point averages and the Law School Aptitude Test are important indicators in predicting the success of a law school candidate, and it relies heavily on those qualifications in many of its decisions. But other factors, including geography, viewpoint, undergraduate school and field of study, work and graduate school experience, participation in community services and campus life, economic background, potential for service to the profession, military service, and race and ethnicity also are considered. No single non-academic factor receives more weight than another in the decision process.

The university's brief also acknowledged public policy of the State of Indiana in seeking diversity in the state's law schools and legal community. "Part of the academic mission of Indiana University is to respond to the demands of the state, nation and those who hire its graduates, a demand that increasingly requires experience in understanding and cooperating with members of various racial and ethnic groups," the brief said.

"In furthering diversity through its admissions program, IU School of Law both confers substantial benefits upon its students and responds to expectations of the state, the legal community and employers who recruit the school's graduates," according to the brief.

Feb. 18 was the scheduled deadline to file briefs in the case, which will be argued before the Supreme Court on April 1. Federal courts in Washington, D.C., were closed yesterday because of inclement weather, and the deadline to file was extended to today.

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