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March 21, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-21

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 21, 2003 - 5




'U' defense cites studies lbzkinhg diversiy to intellectual excellence

By Tomislav Ladika
Daily Staff Reporter

To defend its use of race in admissions, University
lawyers must convince the U.S. Supreme Court that
diversity is a compelling state interest, and evidence
claiming that diversity benefits both minorities and
whites is vital to their argument.
The University's legal brief responding to the lawsuit chal-
lenging LSA's admissions policy cites numerous studies and
professional testimony, attempting to link diversity to educa-
tional benefits for the entire student body.
"Abundant empirical evidence confirms educators'
long-held beliefs and experience that students who expe-
rienced the most racial and ethnic diversity in classroom
settings and in informal interaction with peers showed the
greatest ... growth in intellectual engagement and moti-
vation,' the brief states, citing a study by Education Prof.
Sylvia Hurtado.
Students learn to consider multiple perspectives, question
minority stereotypes and react to unfamiliar social settings
through contact with diverse peers, the brief states. The two
most significant studies cited in the brief include a study con-
ducted by emeritus Prof. Patricia Gurin and "The Shape of
the River," a book by William Bowen and Derek Bok, former
presidents of Princeton and Harvard universities.

Gurin's study indicates minority and white students who
experienced diversity at the University and 184 other schools
across the nation learned to think critically and were encour-
aged to participate in civic activities, Gurin said.
"It's probably the most well-developed record on the bene-
fits (of diversity) ever presented," University General Counsel

Dis "-g
.. , 5, n f
part fouir in a

Marvin Krislov said.
The study is important for the
University's argument because
schools defending the use of race
in past lawsuits, such as Hop-
wood v. Texas, had to rely prima-
rily on anecdotal instead of
empirical evidence, Krislov said.
The brief also refers to "The
Shape of the River," which
claims minorities accepted

dence because the issue of whether diversity is a compelling
state interest is a legal question, and not necessarily based on
evidence. "We don't disagree that diversity is valuable,"
Levey said. "We simply feel there is a huge difference
between something being valuable and it being a compelling
interest that can justify racial discrimination."
Legal experts said justices with predispositions against the
use of race in admissions will likely give little weight to the
evidence, but Duke University law Prof. Trina Jones said it
may convince Justice Sandra Day O'Connor - predicted by
many legal experts to be the deciding vote in the case.
"O'Connor might be persuaded that the ends are suffi-
ciently important such that diversity is a compelling state
interest," she said.
Michigan State University law Prof Brian Kalt said the
justices must decide on a legal standard, which may be deter-
mined by evidence. "Any requirement comes down to a legal
standard that has to be based on facts," he said. "If there is
empirical support for (diversity), it makes it more likely that
it serves a compelling state interest."
But even if the court rules that colleges can consider race
in admissions, the University still must prove its undergradu-
ate schools do not award too many points for race.
Although Levey said CIR will argue that the 20 points
given for race are an unconstitutional amount, Krislov said
the University uses the LSA Selection Index to evaluate

which applicants are qualified based on a wide variety of
backgrounds, talents and abilities.
"We've found this a good balance between academic and
non-academic factors," Krislov said.
20 points out of the index's maximum 150 points are
granted on race, while a possible 110 points are based on
academic factors. Levey said the index's scale is misleading
because applicants with a 2.0 grade point average receive 40
points."No one applies to the University of Michigan with a
C average," he said.
But according to the brief, the University could not enroll
enough minorities to achieve meaningful diversity without
using a 20-point plus factor. The brief added that Justice
Lewis Powell's opinion in the 1978 case of Regents of the
University of California v. Bakke ruling - which banned
racial quotas but permitted race to be used as an admissions
factor - stipulates that individualtuniversities should have
discretion over fine-tuning their admissions policies.
"The role of the court is not to question every sin-
gle factor," Krislov said. "The role of the court is to
determine whether the use of race as an admissions
factor is constitutional."
Levey said CIR is challenging the amount of points award-
ed for race because they are "relevant only in so far as it
shows (the University is) not using race as one of many fac-
tors. They're using it as a superfactor."

through race-conscious policies succeeded at the same rate as
white students. "Bowen and Bok found that the overwhelm-
ing majority of African-American graduates of selective col-
leges and universities with race-sensitive admissions
programs preformed well and were very satisfied with their
undergraduate educational experience," the brief states.
Curt Levey, spokesman for the Center for Individual
Rights, the law firm representing the plaintiffs in both law-
suits, said CIR's briefs do not, challenge the University's evi-

Prof's research backs validity ofarguments

By Tomislav Ladika
Daily Staff Reporter
Before two lawsuits challenged the University's use
of race in admissions, before University lawyers wrote
legal briefs defending the Law School and LSA poli-
cies, before the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear both
cases April 1, emeritus Prof. Patricia Gurin conducted a
study based solely on her
scholarly interests.
Now the study - which y
Gurin said provides empiri-
cal evidence linking diversi-
ty to numerous educational '
benefits - plays a key role
in the University's argument
that diversity is a com-
pelling state interest, and
that race should be consid-
ered as one of many admis-
sions factors.
"The students who have the most experience with
diversity were more likely, in a very reliable manner, to
think a little differently, to take consideration of multi-
ple perspectives, to be more engaged in citizen activi-
ties," Gurin said during an interview with The
Michigan Daily.
The study also concluded that merely enrolling a cer-
tain number of minorities is not enough to achieve the
educational benefits of diversity, Gurin said.
"It's the actual experience that students have, and not
just whether or not diverse students are out there," she
said. "(Diversity) is just a resource that universities
need to make use of and that students need to avail

themselves of, or it doesn't make any difference."
Three years before the lawsuits were filed in 1997,
Gurin, then a tenured psychology professor, compiled
data from the Michigan Student Survey of University
Students and from the Cooperative Institutional
Research Program, conducted at the University of Cali-
fornia at Los Angeles, which surveyed thousands of
students from 184 colleges across the nation.
Both studies asked white, black and Hispanic stu-
dents about their experiences interacting with diverse
peers in the classroom and informal settings. Students
were surveyed during their freshman terms and again
four years later. Various factors were controlled, includ-
ing students' backgrounds, grades, test scores and their
institution's emphasis on diversity.
The study shows that the diversity of the University's
campus challenges students to think in new ways,
Gurin said, because almost all whites and more than
half of the blacks surveyed attended predominantly seg-
regated high schools.
"What happens when students hit Michigan
with the level of diversity we have? It's different,
it's discrepant, it's novel," she said. "We did find
(that) the more students have actually interacted
with diverse peers, the more by the senior year
they were doing active thinking."
Such active thinking encourages students to take into
account multiple perspectives when analyzing social
situations, Gurin said.
The results from the University survey are remark-
ably consistent with the results from the national study,
Gurin said, and results were similar for all racial groups
surveyed. Responses to various survey questions -
which included how often students talked about person-

al or racial issues with diverse peers outside of class,
and how often they experienced hostile relationships
with minorities - also were consistent with the
amount of educational benefits students experienced,
she said.
"There is a lot of belief that somehow this is good for
minority students and not for whites, or maybe some
people think it's good for whites but it's not good
minority groups, (but) we just find very little evidence
of that," she said.
The study also shows that students who attend
diverse schools are more likely to engage in civic par-
ticipation. The ability to work well with people of mul-
tiple backgrounds is vital because many University
students will go on to become corporate and political
leaders by mid-century, when more than half of the U.S.
population will be non-white, Gurin said.
"They can be motivated to understand others who are
different from them, they can understand that difference
isn't necessarily a bad thing for democracy," she said.
Gurin said her study was the first "overall effort to
try and look at the benefits of diversity."
Gurin's study claims interaction with minorities is
necessary to reap the benefits of diversity. But the Uni-
versity refers to Gurin's evidence in its briefs to justify
using race as an admissions factor to enroll a critical
mass of minorities.
Gurin said the University is trying to prove "the
probability of interacting goes down to so infinitesimal
in the important small settings under the race-blind
admissions that we know that we have negatively
affected the educational benefits of diversity."
"We're never saying it's got to be that big, we're say-
ing it can never be this small," she said.

Emeritus Prof. Patricia Gurin conducted a study of diversity in education that
is key to the arguments the University has presented to the Supreme Court.

Braking for news

Huffington offers political
commentary on Iraq conflict

By Elizabeth Anderson
Daily Staff Reporter

Student Bike Shop owner Bill Loy watches the latest news on the war against Iraq during his lunch
break yesterday afternoon, shaking his head at the television in disappointment.
oeman a eSSeS civil liberties

The Michigan Daily sat down with Arianna Huffington,
author syndicated columnist and political commentator to
discuss her new book, "Pigs at the Trough," which details
corporate greed in America. Huffington also offered her
thoughts on the current situation in Iraq, Bush's presidency
and her challenges as a working mother
The Michigan Daily: What is your new book about?
Arianna Huffington: We've all heard about ... Enron
and WorldCom and what I wanted to make clear in the book
was that there's not just a few bad apples. ... I wanted to
make sure that people get the message of the last half of the
book, too, which is that the ... special interest is to speak out
and organize and that's why I have this multimedia presenta-
tion that includes ... a few moral segments and parodies.
TMD: Why are all these problems with corporate Ameri-
ca surfacing right now?
Huffington: Well the first question is, why it has taken so
long? Because it's been going on for so many years. Why has
it taken so long for them to come out? Because of the fact
that our politicians and different watchdogs that they have set
up to oversee corporate America have basically failed us.
Politicians have been carrying the project of many of these
large corporate leaders. ... Public policy is set up for their
TMD: Can you describe your writing process?
Huffington: Well this is my ninth book and ... I do a col-
umn every week ... I've been doing this for a long time. I
start in different ways and right now I've discovered that the
best way for me is to dictate to a person or to a tape recorder.
I realized that I love speaking. (My books and columns are) a
little bit like a legal brief. I argue a case and make a point. I
use a lot of humor and satire and, to be honest, it's important
to be entertained. ... Part of what I wanted to do with the
sidebars ... is to make it entertaining.
TMD: Why should people read "Pigs at the Trough?"
Huffington: People need to recognize that our democracy
has been hijacked and that we need to get it back. The way to
do this is to be informed and to know what is happening and
to recognize all the ways in which public policy is not there
to serve the public but to serve the special interest and also to
give people specific examples, like .. the fact that we all
know about paying our taxes and over a million corporations
and individuals are not going to pay taxes because they have
opened PO. boxes in Bermuda ... and that they can confirm
it. ... The book is full of information like that we can use ...
while trying to bring about social change.
TMD- What can students do to he less influenced by lare

because you are always thinking about this one and it's what
I'm most passionate about right now. ... I believe that this
combination of entertaining and giving information and
empowering is something which I really like to achieve and I
think that that's in this book, by including all these different
ways of presenting information that's not all linear, by
including sidebars and some quizzes.
TMD: What kinds of challenges do you face as a working
Huffington: That is the greatest challenge. I'm leaving
again on Sunday. I'm coming to speak
! F (at the University), then I'm going on to
speak at Dartmouth and then I'm going
to Vassar ... and I love that. I love my
work. I love communicating with peo-
ple, especially college students because
I really believe that's where the future is
but at the same time I'm going to miss
my daughters, I'm going to miss being
here ... and I know that this is not nor-
mal to do a college tour but it is a con-
Huffington stant juggling act and I can't say that
I've got it right.
TMD: Do you think that men are intimidated by you?
Huffington: I don't think men are intimidated by me
because I think that having a sense of humor is important
and I think not taking yourself too seriously is good ... I
think you should take yourself lightly.
TMD: What are your views on the war in Iraq?
Huffington: I'm against the war. I believe that the president
has not established a clear and present danger posed by Iraq. I
believe the administration has tried to make a link between
Iraq and September 11, but that link was never proven....
There's a lot of erosion of trust and what the White House is
saying because again and again the president said Osama (bin
Laden) and Saddam (Hussein) are one and the same or has
talked about links between al-Qaida and September 11 when
there's been no evidence about that at all and now the percep-
tion is that we should start in order to use September 11 to jus-
tify a pre-September 11 agenda, which was to invade Iraq.
TMD: Do you think Bush has been a successful presi-
Huffington: No, I think that Bush has not been a success-
ful president. I think that ... at a time when we needed to
gain some friends, we've succeeded in uniting our enemies
against us and turning our allies against us. On the domestic
front this is a really disturbing time in this country. The pres-
ident is not even responding to his own domestic priorities.
TMD: Do you have any advice for college students, espe-
ciallvin our time of political and economic crises?

By Tomislav Ladika
Daily Staff Reporter
In response to the commencement of
war with Iraq, University President
Mary Sue Coleman expressed her con-
cern at yesterday's University Board of
Regents meeting for everyone affected
by the conflict, stressing the importance
of maintaining campus civility, safety
and freedom of speech.
"We want to have a civil environment
as well as have people express their
views," Coleman said. "It's a very
important time for us to reinforce our
sense of community."
Regent S. Martin Taylor (D-Grosse
Pointe Farms) said both supporters and
opponents of war are experiencing
anguish and concern, but he said he
" tnlla..r.+ril,," c.nnnrtc.t t, nrC. -

campus safety.
"Your right to freedom of expression
is paramount at the University of Michi-
gan, and I trust we will set an example
for the nation of passionate debate con-
ducted with respectful civility," she said
in the written statement.
At the regents' meeting, Coleman said
administrators have created a website to
aid students concerned about or person-
ally affected by the war. Professors
received e-mails instructing them to dis-
cuss war-related issues in class and
informing them of where to send stu-
dents seeking guidance, she said.
"We have staff and faculty who are
here to answer questions or help in
whatever way they can," Coleman said
in the e-mail. She also attached links to
several guidance offices, including the
C'n,nze.inoa nd Pcoaingical Services

"There should be
debate on all great
current issues. It's just
important that it be
done in a civil
- University Regent S. Martin Taylor
(D-Grosse Pointe Farms)
During the public speakers' forum,
Law School alum David Boyle repri-
manded lawyers representing the Uni-
versity in two lawsuits challenging the
use of race as an admissions factor in
the L m Scholrand Colleneo f I itera-

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