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October 23, 1998 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-23

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LOCAL/STATE

The Michigan Daily -Friday, October 23, 1998 - 5

*Affirmative action
debate continues
outside courtroom

CLINTON
Continued from Page 1
be free and therefore allow a bigger turnout, she felt
the event went very well.
"It did generate a lot of money, which is impor-
tant," Rivers said. "And we raised it not for individu-
als, but for get-out-the-vote efforts.
Rivers echoed Clinton's concerns about turnout,
saying it is always an issue in off-year elections.
"We're putting a lot of time and money into elec-
tion day Rivers said.
While she said Michigan should be proud of its
representation in Washigon, the first lady said citi-
zens should not be complacent. Clinton praised the

delegation during the speech, saying they support the
most important issues in politics today.
"We've got to have a Congress ... who will contin-
ue to push education to the forefront as the national
priority it deserves to be," Clinton said. "How could
we do it without Lynn Rivers, who is focused on chil-
dren and their needs?"
The end of the 105th Congress brought joy to some
of those in attendance. House Minority Whip David
Bonior (D- Mt. Clemens) said it had been a "rough
and tumble" Congress and listed numerous examples
of programs Republicans "took away" from citizens.
And Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said there was rea-
son to celebrate because the 105th Congress is done
- a "do-little" Congress.

"Clearly, it's one of the worst Congresses in mod-
ern history," Levin said. "We couldn't even pass a
budget."
Democrats expressed concern about holding some
of their seats, including those of Bonior and Sander
Levin (D- Southfield). Clinton said both of those seats
need to be maintained and others also need to be won.
"David Bonior is our utility infielder. He has
everything we need to combat the Republicans every
day," Clinton said.
LSA senior Dan Purnell attended the rally to show
support for Rivers, but he said he is more concerned
for other candidates on Nov. 3.
"It would be a big blow if Bonior lost," Purnell
said.

SKatie Plona
DailyStaff Reporter
University students continue to
demonstrate that the battle over affirma-
tive action is being fought not just in the
depths of downtown Detroit courtrooms
or the hush-hush privacy of legal confer-
ence rooms.
Instead, University students joined
attorneys and Detroit high school stu-
dents yesterday in the Michigan Union
a national show of campus activism
uring the 2 Days of Action in Defense
of Affirmative Action.
During one of the Days' events, an
eight-rhember panel discussed the signif-
icance of voices defending affirmative
action in two high-profile affirmative
action lawsuits facing the University with
members of the audience.
Nearly one year ago, the Center for
individual Rights, a conservative
Washington, D.C.-based law firm, filed
the first of two lawsuits against the
University. CIR targets the College of
Literature, Science and the Arts' admis-
sions practices in the first lawsuit, claim-
ing the two plaintiffs it represents were
unfairly denied admission because of the
use of race as a factor in the admissions
process.
The second lawsuit, which CIR also
filed during fall of last year, challenges
the Law School's affirmative action prac-
ees, arguing that plaintiff Barbara
Grutter was treated unfairly denied
admission to the school.
All of the panelists at the event -
from Detroit's Cass Technical High
School senior Agnes Aleobua to 80-year-
old Detroit-area attorney Milton Henry
agreed that to get to the heart of the
issues, the groups trying to intervene in
both lawsuits must be allowed to enter as
efendants in the cases. Otherwise, they
"aid, many fundamental issues of equali-
ty will be left out of the courtroom.
But, regardless of what happens legal-
ly to the University's use of race as an
admissions factor, several panels said
activists have the potential to have the
final word in the debate.
No matter what is decided in the
courtroom, it is ultimately decided by the
people, Aleobua said.
Others echoed her comments, empha-
*zing the importance of social activism.
Miranda Massie, lead attorney for the
coalition that wants to become a defen-
dant in the Law School suit, said defend-
ers of affirmative action actually can
compel the court's decision by not allow-

ing the debate to be limited to legal
abstractions.
Yesterday in court - while students
on campus tried to garner support for
their involvement in the lawsuits -
Detroit Federal Judge Bernard Friedman
heard from both CIR's and the
University's legal team about a motion to
classify the plaintiffs involved in the law-
suit, according to a clerk in his office.
Although he said he did not know the
outcome ofthe meeting, CIR senior legal
counsel Terry Pell said the significance
of the class certification is minimal.
"This is a normal procedural process,"
Pell said. Whether Friedman decides to
include others as plaintiffs or limit parties
to those originally named will not affect
the consequences the University faces if
it loses the suit, he said.
Class certification is part of the dis-
covery phase in both lawsuits. During
this time, the University and CIR
exchange information, question witness-
es and call on experts to evaluate the evi-
dence.
While most students were away from
campus this past summer, the judges in
both lawsuits denied the intervention of
coalitions for each suit. To be granted
intervention, the groups had to demon-
strate that they had a stake in the outcome
of the case that the University could not
adequately represent.
Both groups - one composed of
Detroit-area high school students backed
by national civil rights organizations and
the other composed of students from var-
ious education levels - filed motions to
reconsider. Friedman in the Law School
lawsuit denied the motion, and the group
has since filed a motion to overrule his
decision in the Sixth Circuit Court of
Appeals.
Judge Patrick Duggan has not yet
ruled on the motion in the LSA suit.
Riaz Osmani, who attended the event
because his sociology class required it,
said he is interested in getting involved in
the affirmative action movement after
hearing about the lawsuits and the inter-
vention attempts.
"It's like the Civil Rights Movement
coming up again," Osmani said.
Massie said the. activity at the
University and across the country sur-
rounding the two Days of Action encour-
ages her "tremendously."
"I think the whole level of discussion on
affirmative action on this campus has real-
ly developed," Massie said, attributing this
to the leadership of students on campus.

Caml'puses nationwide participate in protests

PROTESTIS
Continued from Page 1
taking away affirmative action in her
speech. She said that in the class admit-
ted 30 years ago, there were 88 black
students and 110 Chicanos. Today there
are 92 blacks and 116 Chicanos in the
entering class of 2002.
The University of Washington's
Student Activities Office hosted a rally
Wednesday afternoon that centered
around Initiative 200, which bans affir-
mative action based on race and gender at
the state's public universities. Washington
is. currently fending off a lawsuit similar
to the two against the University of
Michigan, which challenge the school's
use of race as a factor in admissions.
The Student Activities Office hosted
a rally that attracted more than 700 stu-
dents and faculty to speak out against
the initiative. Only about 10 people
showed up to support it.
"We're really bringing it to the fore-.
front, 'said Washington junior Er n

Lennon, a co-coordinator of the rally.
"We focused on getting everybody out
there."
Berkeley junior Jake Prendez spoke at
the rally about his experiences as an ex-
gang member and how affirmative action
assisted his acceptance into Berkeley.
"All he really needed was the oppor-
tunity;' Lennon said.
But students at universities where
affirmative action is not directly under
fire are still rallying for the cause.
The NAACP sponsored events at
Johns Hopkins University. Local groups
such as the Office of Multicultural
Students Affairs and the Black Students'
Union at Johns Hopkins gathered more
than 100 students from the campus of
3,800 to affirmative action events dur-
ing the two days.
Wednesday's activities at Johns
Hopkins included a demonstration and
a rally, where Adrianne Williams, a rep-
resentative from the local NAACP
chapter, spoke about the meaning of

affirmative action at Johns Hopkins.
Yesterday,, OMSA and BSU
brought Fred Pincus, a sociology pro-
fessor from the University of
Maryland to the campus to give a
speech, titled, "Affirmative Action:
Just the Facts."
"For us mainly, this was an educa-
tional process." said Rose Varner-
Gaskins, assistant director of OMSA.
In addition students and faculty took
part in a walk-out that morning.
Although affirmative action is not offi-
cially a legal or political issue in
Baltimore, it is still on the minds of fac-
ulty and students.
"There's discussions about some of the
raced-based programs here," Varner-
Gaskins said. "The biggest fear is the loss
of at least a small portion to be even con-
sidered for jobs and schools"
Gaskins said the two days of action
prompted a positive response from stu-
dents.
"It really did wake students up. This

really has gotten them charged :to
more," she said.
Rachel Deutsch, a junior at Yale
University and the political action coor-
dinator for the Women's Center, claims
that "affirmative action is not under
siege at Yale." But a small portion-f
Yale's student body came out to show
their concern for the issue.
Yale's Women's Center sponsored
two panel discussions Wednesday. Tile
first panel, which included about 310
faculty members, discussed affirmative
action's role in higher education. Yale's
Women Center also featured a stude'nt
panel which focused on the effects of
the issue within minority groups..
Yale concluded its events yesterday
with a rally that drew about 40 people.
"The march was a way of tying
together affirmative action nationally
with the campaign we've been working
on at Yale, which is to achieve diversity
in terms of women and minorities."
Deutsch said.

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