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The mission of The City University of New York, embodied in state education law, Article 125, Section 6201, as the finding and intent of the New York State Legislature, states in part: “The Legislature intends that The City University of New York should be maintained as an independent system of higher education governed by its own Board of Trustees responsible for the governance, maintenance and development of both senior and community college units of The City University. “The University must remain responsive to the needs of its urban setting and maintain its close articulation between senior and community college units. Where possible, governance and operation of senior and community colleges should be jointly conducted or conducted by similar procedures to maintain the University as an integrated system and to facilitate articulation between units. “The Legislature’s intent is that The City University be supported as an independent and integrated system of higher education on the assumption that the University will continue to maintain and expand its commitment to academic excellence and to the provision of equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups and from both sexes. The City University is of vital importance as a vehicle for the upward mobility of the disadvantaged in the City of New York. The pioneering efforts of the SEEK and College Discovery programs must not be diminished as a result of greater state financial responsibility. “Only the strongest commitment to the special needs of an urban constituency justifies the Legislature’s support of an independent and unique structure for the University. Activities at the City University campuses must be undertaken in a spirit which recognizes and responds to the imperative need for affirmative action and the positive desire to have City University personnel reflect the diverse communities which comprise the people of the city and state of New York …”