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The Bakke Case Primer
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The Institute for the study of Educational Policy (ISEP) is the outgrowth of efforts to establish a National Commission on the Education of Black Americans. Howard is the first predominately Black University to establish an Institute of this importance, with substantial assistance from the Ford Foundation. The three major purposes of the institute are: (1) to assess the status and needs of Blacks in higher education; (2) to assess the impact of law, social science and other research on the status of Blacks in higher education; and (3) to use old models to elucidate the higher educational enterprise.

With these goals in mind, a focus at ISEP has been drawn to what is perceived as one of the most insidious threats to minority progress since 1954. The case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke due to be argued before the Supreme Court during its October 1977 Term poses that threat.

As you are well aware, in our judicial system the U.S. Supreme Court is the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution. Thus, by virture of its prestige and authority, it may judge what our constitutional and moral goals should be. It is therefore almost certain that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Bakke (1) affirmative action programs for minorities and women will be undermined not only in education, but also in employment. (2) It will suggest, if not harden, a moral and political tone that will be hostile to the needs, aspirations and rights of all underprivileged and deprived groups, thus counteracting the meager strides and gains since Brown v. Board of Education.

We feel it is important, therefore, before the landmark decision in Bakke is made, to make the public aware of the potentially disastrous effects a U.S. Supreme Court decision would have if it affirmed the California State Supreme Court which struck down special admission programs.

The following information will help you understand the true facts, as researched and determined by ISEP.

Kenneth S. Tollett

Questions and Answers of Interest

Q. Were the 16 seats set aside for "special admission" students at the university of California at Davis Medical School a quota?

A. No, the 16 seats set aside were not a quota.
Quota by the very definition of the word, implies a "floor" and a "ceiling". A quota is a definite number. Webster's dictionary defines quota as "... the number or amount constituting a proportional share". The American Heritage dictionary notes that a quota is "the maximum number or proportion of persons who may be admitted, as to a nation, group or institution". Between 1970 and 1974, the years cited by Bakke, only twice did the special admissions program reach its "goal" of filling the 16 seats it had set aside. (See Chart) In 1970, 8 minorities were admitted in the special program, in 1971, 15 minorities were admitted, in 1973 and 1974, 14 were admitted, and in 1974, 15. If the special admissions program at Davis had embodied a "quota" system, in each of the years (1970-1974) 16 minorities would have had to have been admitted in the program. Further, it is of some note that the total number of minorities accepted at Davis (in the special and regular admissions programs) always exceeded 16. There was, therefore,

For further information on the Bakke Case Primer write to Howard University, Washington, D.C. 20008.

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