Editor, Daily Nexus:

Reading the opinion of Mr. Scott W. Mitchell (Reader’s Voice, "Affirmative Action Is Really ‘Negative Action,’ Jan. 30) prompted me to write this letter. I hope that respectful, thoughtful and caring exchanges on hotly debated topics like Affirmative Action can find more and more forums in this university. In that spirit, I welcome the published opinions of Mr. Mitchell as well as those of Mr. Ray Smith and El Congreso, to whom he was responding. One of the ultimate goals of social policies such as Affirmative Action was/is to prompt an examination of a kind of society we’d like to have. It is one thing to have as a goal and a rhetoric, the admission, hiring, evaluation and advancement of persons irrespective of race, color, creed, sex and other nonbehaviorally, noneducationally and nonoccupationally relevant criteria, and quite another to have as reality the achievement of such societal goals. As an instrument, many people recognize that Affirmative Action policies may not have always been used well: Sometimes their poor use might have effected inequities instead of preventing or ameliorating them. Yet, I ask us all to keep in mind that inequities of a systematic nature continue to operate (or at least appear to) due to irrelevant factors like race, uncaused by Affirmative Action policies or their proposed misapplication. It is my personal and deep hope that we can continue to craft and implement UC admissions policies that reflect a broad vision of what it means to be a successful University of California student – for example, the ability to contribute to the welfare of underserved California constituents – and of what then "qualifies" any student (beyond high school GPA and SAT scores) for an opportunity to achieve the multi-various and multi-determined successes we all hope for our society.