8B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, January 30, 2003
The history of the affirmative action suits
The Michigan Daily - Weekend.Magazine
JEFF PHILLIPS - AI WRONG?
LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH
By Jeremy Berkowitz
Daily Staff Reporter
With the University in the national
spotlight, many critics of its admissions
policies have directed their criticism
toward what they call a liberal bastion:
Yet despite the University's proud histo-
ry of activism, it has a mixed past in
regard to minority enrollment and treat-
ment of minorities.
Former President James Duderstadt
wrote in his book "A University for the
21st Century" that "the history of diver-
sity at Michigan has been complex and
often contradictory. There have been too
many times when the institution seems
to take a step forward, only to be fol-
lowed by two steps backward. Nonethe-
less, access and equality have always
been a central goal of our institution."
Although the University was founded in
1817, it was not until 1868 that the first
black student was admitted.
Eleven years later, during a com-
mencement speech, longtime President
James Angell called on the University to
give equal educational opportunities to
everyone regardless of race or gender.
"The most democratic atmosphere in
the world is that of the college. There all
meet on absolutely equal terms," Angell
said. "Nowhere else do the accidents of
birth or condition count for so little."
Yet, it would be almost another 90
years before the issue of minority
enrollment would again be seriously
addressed. As late as the 1960s,
blacks and other minorities would
account for less than 1 percent of the
On top of that, minorities were sub-
ject to discrimination and segregation on
campus. Several stores and restaurants,
including the Union Barbershop, would
refuse to deal with blacks.
In the 1950s, the infamous dean of
women, Deborah Bacon, would main-
tain separate residence halls and hous-
ing for whites and minorities. In 1958,
The Michigan Daily investigated
Bacon and showed she had abused her
powers by attempting to break up
interracial relationships. Due to grow-
ing pressure from the administration
and students alike, Bacon sent her res-
ignation letter to President Harlan
Hatcher in September 1961.
"I personally am not in tune with
some of the changes which seem
inevitable in the years ahead,"
Eight years later, the Department of
Health, Education and Welfare accused
the University of discriminating against
minorities in hiring practices and
demanded the University develop an
affirmative action program. In the win-
ter of 1970, in the midst of student
protests over the Vietnam War, a group
of black students formed the Black
Action Movement, demanding higher
enrollment of minorities.
They led an eight-day strike of classes
resulting in a 25 percent attendance
drop. In the end, President Robben
Fleming agreed with BAM to aim at
raising minority enrollment to ten per-
cent by the 1973-1974 academic year.
Although the black enrollment rate
rose from 3.5 percent to 6.8 percent by
1972, the campus was still a place of
many racial tensions. The University did
not reach its 10 percent goal in 1973 and
minority enrollment began to drop. In
1975, another group of students formed
BAM II and requested that Fleming help
improve the racial climate on campus
through support services. Fleming
refused and minority enrollment contin-
ued to drop throughout the 1970s and
the early to mid 1980s even after the
1978 Univesity of California Board of
Regents v. Bakke decision, which said
race could be used as one of several fac-
See HISTORY, Page 31B
'm obsessed with dating shows.
There. I said it. I'm not talking
about the typical shows that
everybody else in America loves,
like "The Bachelorette," "Joe
Millionaire" and "American Idol"
(although I watch these also).
The games that I can't stop watch-
ing are the aforementioned shows'
raunchier, trailer park cousins: mid-
day dating shows.
Shows like "Elimidate," "The 5th
Wheel," "Blind Date" and "Change of
Heart" all have more hot tubs, more
drunkenness and, best of all, more
embarrassment for the contestants
then any of the primetime shows.
They make Monday night's slurp-
ing scene from "Joe Millionaire"
look like child's play. Plus, they
don't have to get married at the end,
so there is no tinge of guilt that you
are watching somebody ruin their
life - that sort of thing is only good
in small doses.
What's best is that they combine to
make midday television watchable.
As a second semester senior on
Injured Reserve, I have a fair amount
of time on my hands. Specifically, in
the time between waking up at noon
and "The Simpsons."
Before the dating show explosion,
your best hope for midday entertain-
ment was to catch "Son in Law" on
a Showtime - but not anymore.
Now you can tune into the WB
(channel 20) from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
for "Blind Date" and "The 5th
Wheel," then find something to do
for an hour while "Street Smarts"
inexplicably finds its way on T.V.
(Side note: I can't believe that this
show is on not once, but twice! They
took a poor premise of asking idiots
questions like, "What is a car?" and
"How many fingers am I holding
up?" and drove it into the ground.
It's like "Celebrity Jeopardy," except
with real people. We all know there
are idiots out there and if they aren't
making out with each other, then
I'm not watching.).
At 2 p.m. you can switch to WGN
(channel 26) where you will enjoy
another hour-and-a-half as
"Elimidate," "The 5th Wheel" and
"Change of Heart" are played back-
to-back-to-back. Then the block
ends with a whimper with again,
I think what makes these shows so
attractive is that each of them takes
the same basic idea of getting people
blitzed in awkward dating situations
and following them around with
cameras and put its own spin on it.
Whether it is forcing people to
compete for attention amongst a
group of four or installing a 15-
minute room (similar to seven min-
utes of heaven in the closet of your
youth) the shows are kept fresh.
That isn't to say that everybody
doesnit steal ideas from everybody,
but there is enough of a difference to
make sure viewesr stay tuned until
"Street Smarts." '
So if you are hot, single and are
planning on being in the New York
or Los Angeles area and are thirsting
for the spotlight, I will catch you up
to speed with what show you should
be on, what you should expect and
how you should act.
In "Elimidate," a single guy or girl
has the choice of four other people of
the opposite sex and must decide on
one by the end of the night. It's like
"The Bachelor" on speed.
If you are one of the group of
four, make sure you get noticed. For
example, consider being better look-
ing that everyone else.
If you are the decider, immediate-
ly get rid of the conservative one
that says they don't kiss on the first
date or don't drink too much or
whatever. They have no business
being on the show and it's just bad
television. Also, after every round,
make sure you say, "The name of the
game is Elimidate." This apparently
lessens the blow.
For "The 5th Wheel," two couples
are initially set up on a date and get to
know each other over the course of the
day, and then a fifth person is added to
the mix - who is always better look-
ing - hence "The 5th Wheel."
Then at the end, everybody's
choices are revealed. If you are on
this show, and the fifth wheel is the
same sex as you, you need to be the
If you are not the fifth wheel, your
best hope is to pick up the person
the fifth wheel doesn't choose.
Otherwise, you will be left talking
to the camera at the end, saying
things like, "I didn't like either one
anyway, so I don't care," or worse,
"They don't know what they are
In "Change of Heart," a formerly
happy couple goes on the show to
test the strength of its relationship
via dating other people in front of
television cameras. The couples
rarely stay together because one of
the pair almost always mess around
a little too much for the other. The
one nugget of advice I can give is to
beware of the Datecam.
The Datecam knows all and sees
all. And if you think you are getting
away with something you will think
you are in the clear until the
Datecam reveals some juicy bit at
the end. For us at home, this is great.
For "Blind Date," I really don't
know what to say. As far as I can
tell, it is impossible to avoid the
ridicule of clever editing and ani-
mated overlays. Better stay at home
for this one. If there is one thing I've
learned over the years, it's that it is
better to laugh at someone than have
someone laugh at you.
If you decide to appear on a show,
you've been warned. If you decide
to stay at home and waste your day,
grab a seat, because "Street Smarts"
is almost over.
- JeffPhillips would like someone to
send him the "The Blind Date Guide
to Dating," in bookstores now. He can
be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
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