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  WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) joined a coalition of national Hispanic organizations in Washington, D.C., today to urge President Bush to support the University of Michigan in promoting diversity in college admissions policies.

“We call upon President Bush to reaffirm his commitment to an education system that will truly ensure that no child is left behind with a public declaration of his support for reasonable programs like the one at the University of Michigan,” HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores said.

Flores and other national Hispanic leaders signed an Open Letter to President Bush urging his support for the University of Michigan in two pending U.S. Supreme Court cases -- Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. These cases challenge university admission policies that allow race and ethnicity to be one of several considerations in college entrance decisions.

The University of Michigan is one of HACU’s more than 340 member and partner colleges and universities, which collectively enroll 3 of every 4 of the 1.6 million Hispanic students in higher education in the United States.

“As the nation’s leading voice for the higher education success of the nation’s youngest and largest ethnic population, HACU well knows the role of diversity as one of the most important means to strengthen and enrich higher education for all students,” Flores said.

“For Latinos, the stakes are critical – as they are for all Americans.” Flores said. “This is not an issue that should be viewed along minority versus non-minority lines. All Americans benefit by the promise of equal opportunity to achieve higher education success in diverse learning communities; all Americans would suffer by denying the importance of diversity in the most culturally and racially diverse nation of the world.”

Flores and other leaders of national Hispanic associations said a decision against college admissions policies in place since the landmark Supreme Court Regents of the University of California v. Bakke decision in 1978 would create an “immediate crisis” for Hispanics, who already suffer the lowest college entrance and completion rates among all major U.S. population groups.

“Ending affirmative action would shut the door to the American Dream for a vast number of our citizens,” said the Open Letter to President Bush signed by Flores and leaders of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Council of La Raza, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Cuban American National Council, New American Alliance, National Association of Hispanic Publications, the University of Puerto Rico and MANA: a National Latina Organization.

The Open Letter to President Bush added that current admissions policies based on the Bakke decision also allow colleges and universities to provide financial aid and other support programs to Latinos once they are accepted as students.

“Without this vital source of financial support, Latinos will be unable to stay the course, graduate, and become productive members of our society,” the Open Letter said, urging President Bush to “keep your commitment to the Latino community and support us in our endeavor to keep in place the modest type of affirmative action allowed by the Bakke decision and before the Supreme Court now.”

For more information, contact HACU national headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, at (210) 692-3805. Ext. 3214. Or visit