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January 16, 2001 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-16

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MLK DAY 2001

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 16, 2001 -7A



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Alumni relay minorty experiences

By Karen Schwartz
Daily Staff Reporter
When Charlie Beckham came to the University in
1965, there were 40,000 undergraduate students. Of
those, 350 - less than one-tenth of 1 percent - were
Beckham and two other University alumni, Kamau
Marable and Dalia Garcia, who graduated in 1995 and
1998 respectively, spoke yesterday in the Pendleton
Room of the Michigan Union about their University
experiences, the challenges they faced as minority stu-
dents and how a degree from the University has bene-
fited them. The program, in its second year, was titled,
"A Focus on Outcomes."
A degree from the University opens doors, Beck-
ham said, and the struggle to give more people of color

access to quality education must continue.
"Focus" is a recruitment program tied in with the
Martin Luther King Jr. symposium and presented by
the University's Ambassador Program, a volunteer stu-
dent organization that works to recruit students of
color. The program was open to the public but also
geared towards minority students, said Feodies Shipp
Ill, who started the program last year. Shipp is also
senior admissions counselor for the University.
"I really want them to see those paths and know that
people have walked the road before them and that
there are others they can look to for guidance and sup-
port," Shipp said.
"Bringing students in to talk to alums lets them see
how a degree helps propel them towards the future,
and shows the full circle of University life," he said.
Featured guest Garcia addressed the subjects of con-

fidence and stereotypes, urging students to be cxam-
pies for those around them and live up to their gosL
"Don't get up in the morning and say, 'This is what
people say about me so this is what I must be,"' she
Instead, Garcia said, students need to take charge of
their own lives, accepting the challenges life offers and
finding their own answers.
"You are what you make of yourself and by statng
here you're sending the message that 'yeah, I can do
this, I'm gonna do this"' she said.
Prospective University student Erik Saenz attended
the program to hear about alumni experiences before
he makes his college decision.
"They gave me a feeling of what responsibilities I'd
have here and a picture of where I'd be with a degree
from U of M," Saenz said.


www.- nspla,.


[Telling it like it is

Forum focuses on bias
in standardized tests

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By Jen Fish
Daily Staff Reporter

Bias in standardized testing, a key
component in the affirmative action
debate, was a focus of the Summit of
the New Civil Rights Movement on
Sunday at the Michigan League.
The summit, sponsored by the
Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action and Integration and Fight for
Equality By Any Means Necessary,
was host to a panel of speakers who
addressed alleged test biases in the
Scholastic Aptitude Test, Law School
Aptitude Test, Michigan Educational
Assessment Program and other acade-
mic aptitude tests.
Advocates of affirmative action con-
tend standardized tests favor non-minor-
ity students. They argue that because
these tests are a large factor in admis-
sions, race must be taken into account to
offset the advantages non-minority
applicants have in this criterion.
This point is expected to be argued
extensively by the intervening defen-
dants in the trial for the lawsuit chal-
lenging the University Law School's
admission policies, which take LSAT
scores into account.
"The mythology of the test is it's just
like grades, and it's not," said David
White, director of Testing for the Public,
a group which helps prepare minority
students for the LSAT, GRE and GMAT.
White also presented research show-
ing that students of different ethnicities

with similar grade point averagesstill
had a large gap between test scores.
Specifically, he found black students
score about nine points lower thawthe
white students when they both have the
same grade point averages.
Jay Rosner, executive director 4fthe
Princeton Review, said it is important to
realize the bias in standardized testing
is not intentional and to label the tots
as biased can be a self-defeating argu-
"If you can show people howdvas
works, than the label of bias doesrt-put
them off," he said.
By analyzing how many white stu-
dents answered a question correctly
compared to the number of black stu-
dents, Rosner says he found that in the
1988-89 SAT tests, 575 questions out
580 were "white-preference" ques-
School of Education Prof. Donald
Heller discussed testing bias in tile
MEAP, which is administered to vioi-
gan high school students. Studenteyo
pass all four sections are awardd a
52,500 scholarship.
These tests, too, Heller said, favor
white students over blacks. And while
students may also receive the schdlar
ship by passing two MEAP tests-and
then scoring in the top quartile on the
SAT or the ACT, fewer than 6 percent of
all applicants qualify this way.
"The best way to get a scholarship n
this state is to be a white student ina
wealthy school," he said.

An actress playing Harriet Tubman tells her story as part of the Program for
Children at Mendelssohn Theatre to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Prof. presents research on inequality

By Anna Clark
Daily Staff Reporter
"We drove 10 hours to be here," said
a University of Virginia law student
before adding her story of racial injus-
tice she has experienced in higher edu-
cation to the growing crowd Sunday in
the Michigan League's Vandenberg
She, along with students and faculty
from the University of California
schools and the University of Michigan,
gathered to hear UCLA sociology Prof.
Walter Allen present his yearlong
research on racial and gender inequali-
ties in higher education.
Allen was one of several speakers in
the Summit of the New Civil Rights

Movement, sponsored by the Coalition
to Defend Affirmative Action and Inte-
gration and Fight for Equality By Any
Means Necessary.
Allen, who also is an expert witness
in the Law School trial, said he used
surveys, focus groups, individual inter-
views and archival investigation to
specifically focus his research on the
University of Michigan's undergraduate
and Law School students. He used data
compiled from the University of Michi-
gan as well as UC-Berkeley, Harvard
and Michigan State, the top feeder
schools to the University of Michigan's
Law School.
The "campus race and gender climate
is negative and this negative climate
consistently negative consequences,"

Allen said, explaining that this was the
first of the three pillars of his findings.
The second pillar addressed "covert
racism" which Allen said is difficult to
measure or point out but is still "calcu-
lated, systematic and in the spirit of rein-
forcing white supremacy."
Finally, Allen noted that while
racism, sexism and classism are distinct
entities, they are interrelated and "feed
off each other."
Allen began his research in October
1999 and concluded in October 2000.
After presenting his work, Allen
opened the floor for the audience to
share their experiences or thoughts,
resulting in almost an hour of voices
reiterating instances of racial and gender
injustice and enumerating ways to fight

past them.
Rackham student L'Heureux Lewis
said he appreciated the scientific evi-
dence Allen presented.
"He presented empirical evidence
towards the inequality in academia,"
Lewis said. "That's crucial to an under-
standing of inequality."
Engineering freshman Mark Hutchin-
son said the discussion following
Allen's presentation helped him realize
the breadth of inequality.
"I learned that this is much more of
a national problem than I thought it
was," Hutchinson said. "It really -u
prised me that with all I've heard and
read about these schools, and with
their reputation, that this is still such a

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Panel: Racial profiling shows social unrest

By Maria Sprow
Daily Staff Reporter
While on a business trip investigating civil rights
violations, Michael Rodriguez was confronted by
three plain-clothed Des Moines police officers in an
airport. They asked him to show identification, asked
if he was carrying any large amounts of money and
searched his luggage.
Rodriguez cited this as one example of racial pro-
filing. He was one of three speakers who talked at a
program titled "Civil Rights Struggle in the New
Millennium: Issues, Obstacles and Strategies for1
Moving Forward," yesterday in the Law School's
Hutchins Hall.
Racial profiling, or suspecting a person of a crime+
merely because of their ethnicity or race, "must be
eliminated" in order for communities to "respect and
trust law enforcement," said Rodriguez, an attorney{
for the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Edu-
cational Fund in Chicago.

"We entrust law enforcers to enforce our laws.
They should not be allowed to break our laws in
order to enforce them," he said.
Rodriguez stressed the need for traffic-stop stud-
ies, which would require officers to report data,
including race, from every stop they make.
Currently San Diego does traffic-stop studies.
Blacks comprise 8 percent of the city's population
but account for 20 percent of searched suspects,
Rodriguez said.
The symposium also focused on the Voting Rights
Act of 1965 and the affirmative action trial involving
the University's Law School.
U.S. Southern Ohio District Judge Algenon Marb-
ley spoke on the act because of alleged voter intimi-
dation against minorities in November's presidential
"The data shows there was some erosion of public
confidence" in the justice system, Marbley said.
U.S. Eastern Michigan District Judge Denise
Hood lectured on affirmative action and education,

focusing on predicting what will happen in the cases
against the University.
She predicted the Supreme Court will choose to
see the University's cases, unlike Hopwood vs. .the
State of Texas.
Of interest to the court will be whether the Univer-
sity's "admissions policy was narrowly tailored to
achieve the goal which the University wanted to have
of a diverse student body," she said. "The (Supreme)
Court will decide if there is a compelling state inter-
est in having a diverse student body."
Hood added that there has been proof that stu-
dents learn better in diverse communities, trg
more likely to "think actively" and learn to'"d al
with conflicts among people who have different
No matter what happens in the trials, affirmative
action and segregation will continue to be a point of
contention in the civil rights movement, she said
"The court can't remedy what goes on," Hood

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By Susan Luth
Daily Staff Reporter
Researchers and community members gath-

ton University sociology graduate student Ann
Morning. "Are they trying to tell us about their
parents, their grandparents, their communi-


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