The University of Arizona's president said Monday he won't let Proposition 107 hurt the school's commitment to diversity.

Robert Shelton gave the remarks at a panel talk at the UA about actions by state lawmakers and their impact on education.

"We have not, we will not back off one bit," he said, from the goal to recruit minority students and employees.

Proposition 107, if approved by voters in November, would prohibit preferential treatment or discrimination by government on the basis of race, sex or ethnic origin. It would specifically apply to employment, education and contracting.

Shelton said Prop. 107 could discourage minority students and faculty from applying to the UA.

When a similar measure passed in California, student and faculty applications dropped "because they felt unwelcome," Shelton said.

"It took the (California) system a decade to recover. We will not let that happen here," he said.

The UA has reviewed all of its diversity programs to make sure they would comply with Prop. 107, Shelton said.

"Our diversity is one of our greatest assets, and we will find creative and legally sound ways to achieve our goals," he said.

Shelton also said SB 1070, the state's new immigration law, and HB 2281, the new ethnic-studies law, send the wrong messages about Arizona and the value of diversity.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 807-8012.