University of California, San Diego

May 24, 1995
SUBJECT: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION The national discussion about affirmative action has focused the interest of the public and the university community on the types of programs we operate to diversify our student body, faculty, and staff. Since its founding, the University has been an institution for all Californians. Daniel Coit Gilman, the first president, expressed this fundamental principle in his inaugural address of 1872: "...This is 
'The University of California'...the University of this State.  It 
must be adapted to this people... to their peculiar geographical 
position, to the requirements of their new society and their 
undeveloped resources.  It is 'of the people and for the people'... It 
opens the door of superior education to all..."
Over thirty years ago The Regents of the University of California established programs aimed at bringing to the university individuals who have historically faced unequal access to education. In the 1980s The Regents adopted the statement that it is the university's mission to enroll students who are "geographically, culturally, racially, 
economically and socially diverse..." I enthusiastically support this policy. There is no question that diversity is essential to the strength and welfare of the university, the state of California, and the nation.
As one of the nation's leading institutions of higher education, we have an obligation to communicate and clarify the policies and practices of our affirmative action programs. We have explained to the community and the media our admissions and outreach programs and will continue to be actively involved in discussions of affirmative action. We must protect our accomplishments in the area of affirmative action and, where appropriate, improve upon our programs. Excellence and diversity are complementary principles that guide UCSD. The student body and workforce of this campus exemplify these principles. A great public university must serve all of its citizens and affirmative action is critical to achieving that objective. I am committed to making the University of California at San Diego a place of intellectual excellence and moral well-being, rich in ethnic and cultural diversity.
Richard C. Atkinson