COMMON GROUNDS

The Mail

To the Editors of The Crimson:

There was more common ground between us in the symposium on Affirmative Action reported upon in Monday's Crimson than the story suggests. Without taking issue with any details in the story, we wish to emphasize this common ground: we both agree that there has been unacceptable discrimination in universities in the past, and that there is a heritage left by this discrimination that must be overcome. We both agree with those parts of affirmative action that deal with advertising nondiscrimination, seeking out applicants of previously excluded groups, eliminating hiring practices that have the effect of excluding minorities and women and have no good arguments for their continuance, and the like. We both agree on rejecting quotas. We disagreed over the part of the affirmative action requirements that calls for goals and timetables. Glazer said they would tend to become quotas; Leonard emphasized the proviso in the guidelines that nothing in them required the dilution of academic standards.

Even on goals and timetables the disagreement was not absolute. Glazer and Leonard both accepted the objectives sought; institutions which represent the talent and diversity of the American people (and here the third panelist, Roger Rosenblatt, made a valuable contribution when he pointed out that only numbers could indicate whether one had achieved this goal, but it was arguable whether numbers should be involved in the processes that led to this goal.) The disagreement was over whether or not the goals and timetables approach to achieving this goal was the right one. Walter J. Leonard   Special Assistant to the President   Nathan Glazer   Professor of Education and Social Structure