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resources, and inviting litigation or not would have to think.” He counts four votes on either side, with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor holding the crucial and unpredictable swing vote a vote, he believes, that O’Connor would not be willing to cast decisively against affirmative action. Nothing is certain. It is entirely possible, for example, that a different panel of the Fifth Circuit would reach a different conclusion, and the Supreme Court could go either way. But if these educational institutions truly value diversity, waiting might not be in their best interests. Madden speaks proudly of Baylor’s success in maintaining diversity post-Hopwood, but he admits serious reservations about the future. “My fear, late at night, is that if we begin to deteriorate over time, we’ll lose the critical mass [of minority students] that maintains a presence on campus, and the quality of the environment on campus for multicultural students.” Madden says Baylor’s faculty share his fears that the efforts currently off setting the effects of Hopwood will not continue to bring success in two or three years. Costello is similarly pessimistic save to hope wanly that another case will establish a nationwide precedent. By the time such a case could work its way through the courts, minority admissions at Rice and other institutions might have fallen below the “critical mass” Madden describes as crucial to recruiting more minority students and faculty. Despite these fears, each school chose to retreat, as quickly as institutionally possible. Asked about the negative effects of that retreat, Trinity Vice President Raney declared, “There are no victims.” But when Baylor Vice President Stan Madden stepped away from his administrative role for a moment, he acknowledged the personal consequences. “While we’re solving these macro-problems, there’s some guy named Bob, who two years ago would’ve been going to Baylor, but now isn’t going to college, or is going in Oklahoma. There’s always a personal side to these sociological and economic JULIAN BOND: “THIS IS SHOCKING NEWS” The Observer current controversy over affirmative action. What follows is an excerpt of that conversation. Observer: The private colleges in Texas have generally followed the state system’s lead on Hopwood, by eliminating affirmative action programs…. What do you think the current situation is on affirmative action questions generally, and most specifically at the college level? Julian Bond: Until I spoke to you, I would have said it was pretty good at the private school level but this is shocking news. I still think, probably outside the reach of the Fifth Circuit, it probably is still alive and well at private schools. I teach at the University of Virginia…. Virginia’s response has been, “We’re going to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, because we think what we’ve been doing is justifiable and legal and correct.” U.Va. has the highest retention rate for black students of any public school in the country, so they’re very proud of their record in this regard, and I think justifiably so, the little I know about it. So my impression is that affirmative action admissions policies are doing fairly well at private schools, probably feeling some heat at public schools particularly after this Michigan lawsuit \(against the UniverI think those schools that have a commitment to it are going to stick to it, and those that never did are going to put their fingers in the wind and run as appar ently Texas schools have done. These administrators hope for another lawsuit, on the national level, so that the Supreme Court can set “the same rules” for the whole country. But no school wants to be the test case. Do you think the Michigan case might be that case? I would guess so, although I’m not a lawyer. That’s going to be a real frightening case for many of these schools, because it aims at administrators personally, as I understand it. This woman has sued the president, and made him liable, or potentially liable, for what she sees as discrimination against her. I would think administrators around the country are quaking in their boots, thinking, if this is successful: “I’m going to be responsible for a whole series of things that I was never responsible for, before.” So I think it probably is having a chilling effect the cautious will do as expected, abandon whatever they think makes them vulnerable. What do you think defenders of affirmative action should be doing right now, to try to hold the line against not only attacks from the conservative side, but a retreat of many who claimed to be supporters? First, I think you have to solidify the base of support, which should be racial minori ties and women. The record of women’s support is mixed; in California, wcap,40 t vw , groups apparently did rally to oppose Proposition 209, but not in numbers sufficient to make a difference. In Houston – I’m not sure what happened there; the pic ture I get from a great distance is that black voters overwhelmingly supported retaining it. I don’t know what happened with female voters, particularly white fe male voters. The pro-affirmative-action forces have to solidify their base, because there is a base of support for these policies, in education, in hiring, in contracting. But it’s got to be solidified and its got to be mobilized and ready. Secondly and this is probably a losing battle what the other side has done, it has successfully redefined affirmative action. It isn’t “affirmative action” anymore, it’s “race preferences.” And “race preferences” is of course a loaded phrase it’s as though they’ve all gotten toand said, “Let’s stop talking about ‘affirmative action,’ let’s talk about ‘race preferences.’ That has even slipped into journalistic vernacular The New York Times runs headlines about “Race Preferences Outlawed.” So this is probably a losing battle, but we’ve got to reclaim the definition, if we can…. 8 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 16. 1998