An article in the Wednesday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about a new admissions policy which the University of Wisconsin System plans to implement set off a firestorm among many key state legislators.

Now the president of the UW-System and president of the UW Board of Regents have issued a statement trying to explain the proposed admissions system which discounts high grade point averages and test scores in favor of race, community involvement and personal goals.

In their statement, Kevin Reilly, system president, and David Walsh, Board of Regents president said that while it is important for students to work hard in high school there are other elements which the system looks for in successful students.

"In addition to academic achievement, we consider other factors that can benefit the education of our entire student body, including diversity, special talents, abilities, and personal experiences of students who want to attend our public university system," the two said in their statement.

"We will continue to do that, because we know that high school grade point averages and test scores alone do not tell the full story about an individual's determination and potential," they added.

The two also cited a recent U.S. Supreme Court case in which the court held that race can play a factor in admissions in order to achieve diversity on a campus.

"The 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Grutter v. Bollinger reinforced the UW System's legal ability to do what we have always done regarding admissions," the statement read.

The two also said that they have been told by business leaders that the university system needs to do a better job of diversifying the student experience on campus.

"Business leaders have repeatedly, and very pointedly, told us that the university needs to do a better job of diversifying the student educational experience, our campus environments and our graduating classes. We will continue to review our admissions processes to ensure that they help us to meet these goals," they said in their statement.

The full statement is online at www.wisconsin.edu/news/2006/r060525.htm