Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled only one of the University’s two admissions policies constitutional yesterday, University President Mary Sue Coleman said she is “very gratified” by the decision and that she was confident that the University can rewrite the College of Literature, Science and the Arts’ admissions policy.

“This is a tremendous victory for the University of Michigan, for all of higher education, and for the hundreds of groups and individuals who supported us,” Coleman said in a written statement, referring to the numerous corporations, law organizations and former military officers who filed briefs supporting the University.

By approving the Law School policy, the court has validated the principle of using racial plus factors to create a diverse student body, and in doing so come down with a landmark decision, Coleman said.

“This is a resounding affirmation that will be heard across the land,” she said.

“Year after year, our student body proves it and now the court has affirmed it – our diversity is our strength.”

At the same time, six justices voted to overturn the LSA policy, leaving the University with the daunting task of rewriting a policy that administrators have said processes about 25,000 applications a year.

But if Coleman was worried at all, she did not show her anxiety yesterday, instead saying that administrators “don’t anticipate much difficulty” in crafting a new policy that uses race in compliance with the ruling.

“Make no mistake – we will find the route that continues our commitment to a richly diverse student body,” she said. “We think we can do that by the fall season.

The court has told us they want a more individualized approach, and they’ve given us a road map.”

Other University administrators echoed Coleman’s jubilant statements.

“The Court’s decision leaves no more doubt that students at the University of Michigan and colleges across the country will have the opportunity to live and learn on richly diverse campuses,” University General Counsel Marvin Krislov said in a news release.

“Our nation’s prosperity and national security will be strengthened by today’s decision.”

Both LSA Dean Terrence McDonald and Law School Associate Dean Evan Caminker, who is slated to become the next Law School dean, said the University will succeed in re-writing the LSA policy to comply with the court ruling and still use racial plus factors.

“We will put to work some of the brightest minds and most motivated people in the country, and the result, I am sure, will continue to be a model for all of higher education,” McDonald said.

The burden of individually reviewing all the applications LSA receives means rewriting the policy “will take some creative thinking and administrative resources,” but will not be an insurmountable task, Caminker said.

But with the principle of race-conscious admissions being upheld and a road map for such policies provided, outgoing Law School Dean Jeffrey Lehman said “the question is no longer whether affirmative action is legal, it is how to hasten the day when affirmative action is no longer needed.”

According to the majority opinion in the Law School case written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the court expects that day to be within 25 years.

Administrators said by then, they hope race-conscious admissions will no longer be necessary, but they questioned whether the 25-year clause is a definitive deadline.

“I don’t see the 25 years as a moratorium,” Caminker said.

He added that O’Connor based the deadline on the fact that 25 years earlier the court announced its ruling in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, which banned the use of racial quotas but permitted the use of race as one of many admissions factors.

Although Terrence Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights ,which represented the plaintiffs in the cases, said the rulings mark the beginning of a “trend downward” and that voters will pass state laws banning race-conscious admissions, Caminker said he hopes the University will lead the fight to preserve such policies.

“My hope would be that states would be moved by the fact that the Supreme Court had affirmed the principles of Bakke,” he said.

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