City of Cleveland backs university's affirmative action policies

By DEE-ANN DURBIN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Ohio State University released a statement Tuesday supporting the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies, saying it uses race as a "plus factor" in its own admissions.
"Diversity is not a deficit, but a dividend, not a burden but a blessing, not a fad but our future," Ohio State's Council on Diversity said in a news release.
The city of Cleveland also backed Michigan, announcing that it had joined Philadelphia in filing a brief in support of the university's admissions policy.
"Allowing universities to consider race is just one of the many factors used in the decision to admit a student," Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell said. "Affirmative action is critical to ensuring access to higher education for our public school students, most of whom are minorities."
As Washington dug out from under 2 feet of snow, U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline for supporters of Michigan's policies to file briefs.
The Supreme Court originally told supporters their briefs would be due by midnight Tuesday. But the court was closed Tuesday due to the snow, so the deadline was automatically extended to midnight Wednesday under court rules.
In the meantime, supporters continued to mail briefs to the
court or prepare to file them on Wednesday. The court is expected to receive 60 briefs from hundreds of organizations defending Michigan's race-conscious admissions policies. Dozens of universities, Fortune 500 corporations, retired military officers and others already have announced they're filing briefs on Michigan's behalf.
Carnegie Mellon University and nearly 40 other colleges and universities said Tuesday that they planned to file a brief before the deadline. The brief argues that affirmative action trains students to live in a diverse world.
Boston College, Brandeis University, Case Western Reserve
University, California Institute of Technology, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Marquette University, New York University, Syracuse University and the University of Miami were among those joining Carnegie Mellon's brief.
The United Auto Workers and the AFL-CIO also announced Tuesday that they will file a brief on Michigan's behalf.
"The UAW strongly believes that the University of Michigan's admissions policies are fair, constitutional, and socially responsible," said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, who called the case "a critical battle."
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments April 1 on
Michigan's undergraduate and law school admissions policies.
Applicants for Michigan's undergraduate classes are scored by points, with minorities and some poor applicants receiving a boost of 20 points on a scale of 150. At the law school, admissions officers use a looser formula that tries to ensure each class has a "critical mass" of about 10 percent or 12 percent minority enrollment.
Opponents of those policies, including President Bush and the state of Florida, have filed 15 briefs. Opponents also will have an opportunity to respond to supporters' briefs after the Wednesday filing deadline.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)