Black Ivy Alumni League
—For Immediate Release—
on Affirmative Action
New York, NY (February 25, 2003) – The Black Ivy Alumni League (The League) is formally announcing its support of the University of Michigan’s Law and undergraduate schools’ affirmative action policies that are under attack in two Supreme Court cases: Grutter vs. Bollinger and Gratz vs. Bollinger.
The League, founded in 1998 and incorporated in 1999, is a
national non-profit organization representing alumni of African descent from
the colleges and professional/graduate schools of the nation’s eight Ivy League
As a premier advocacy organization that encourages civic engagement among its primary constituency and the community at large, promotes the recruitment and retention of black students and faculty at Ivy League institutions, and facilitates the professional and personal development of its alumni, The League expresses its support of affirmative action policies as a vital means by which the nation’s colleges and universities ensure educational access and equity as well as diversity and an enriched academic experience for all students. Since affirmative action became a policy, mean GPAs, standardized test scores, and overall achievement of matriculating students at the country’s most selective universities has risen, not fallen. A commitment to racial and ethnic diversity—as implemented through affirmative action policies—is at least as vital to student’s academic rigor and educational experiences as is gender equity, geographic representation, and, at many schools, enrollment of athletes and legacies (relatives of alumni) such as the Kennedys at Harvard, and the Bushes at Yale.
Black alumni of Ivy League universities are but one example that affirmative action policies do not compromise merit or ability. We, beneficiaries of affirmative action programs, have contributed to our universities, professions and communities. Renowned historian Henry Louis Gates (Yale); former New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall (Dartmouth); NASA Astronaut Mae Jamison (Cornell); award-winning actress Angela Bassett (Yale); U.S. Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder (Columbia); American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault (Harvard Law School); Congressman Chaka Fattah (University of Pennsylvania); BET President and COO Debra L. Lee (Brown, Harvard); former U.S. Naval Air Development Station head and current Penn Board of Trustees Vice Chairperson Dr. Gloria Twine Chisum (University of Pennsylvania); author and Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy (Princeton); Children’s Defense Fund Founder and President Marian Wright Edelman (Yale Law School); and Brown University President Ruth Simmons (Harvard Graduate School) are just a small representation of our distinguished alumni. We add value in all facets of society that should be measured not only by our individual success, but by the impact we have on others.
Education is not bounded to classrooms; it expands to dorm rooms, libraries, cafeterias, music halls, and athletic fields. Diversity on college campuses ensures generations with increased sensitivity, insight and knowledge about a world that extends far past any single neighborhood. The civil, political, economic, and strife that plague our world today; as well as the legacy of disenfranchisement of black and brown people both on these shores and beyond, demand that the measure of a superior education be determined with a pan-ethnic, multi-racial lens.
We stand today to defend the courageous trail blazed by those who came before us and the rights of those who must be allowed to claim their position upon the world stage. We speak on behalf of all students, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, socio-economic level, physical or mental impairment, age, sex, sexual preference, or ancestry. Despite the many misconceptions, affirmative action is in place for everyone’s benefit and its absence will be everyone’s loss.
If you would like more information about the Black Ivy Alumni League (The League), please visit the web site at http://www.TheLeagueOnline.org.
Ayana R. Green
Chair and Founder
Black Ivy Alumni League
Inman Page Council of
The Black Alumni Council of
Cornell Black Alumni Association
Black Alumni of
African American Association of Harvard Alumni
Association of Black
Black Alumni Society of the
Yale Black Alumni Network