Washington deals with end of affirmative action

November 13, 1998
Now that Washington voters have approved the nation's second ban on affirmative action, after a ballot campaign as divisive as any the state has ever seen, the real ordeal is just beginning.
     With less than a month to dismantle policies they have followed for decades, many officials here sound uncertain, even defiant, about how they plan to interpret the new law. If carried out to the letter, it will affect hiring and contracting in every state, county and local government agency and admissions at every public university.
     The University of Washington announced a few days ago that it will no longer consider race or gender as factors when choosing students -- an abrupt end to a strategy its campuses have used since the 1960s.
     Across the state, however, some public institutions are hinting that they intend to find subtle ways to circumvent the ban. Others are waiting to take their cue from Gov. Gary Locke, a Chinese American Democrat who campaigned against the ban but now has the responsibility of putting it into practice.