The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 7
Continued from Page 1
The group's website contains a picture
of King overlaid by a red line. The pic-
ture links to a website urging members
to protest King's birthday, claiming that
the civil rights leader was a "womaniz-
ing promoter of race-mixing and 100
It is ironic, then, that this organization
would support MCRI, O'Brien said.
Though he is unsure of their intentions,
he said he respects their right to civic
For BAMN members, however, the rea-
son is not so elusive. "It's not surprising
at all," LSA senior and BAMN organizer
Kate Stenvig said. "We know that they're
lying when they call it a civil rights ini-
MCRI's commitment to these principles
of civil rights has been continually disputed.
Two weeks ago while petitioning in the
Michigan Union, the Young Americans for
Freedom, a nationwide conservative group,
faced opposition by BAMN. Part of the
YAF's display included an image of King
along with a quote. MCRI supporters said
these images coincide well with both
"We believe that racial preferences are
wrong and are inherently racist. So we're
supporting Mr. (Ward) Connerly's initiative
to end all racial preferences in public edu-
cation, hiring and contracts," YAF co-chair
Although YAF's display was not an
official MCRI poster, opponents say the
campaign has co-opted the civil rights
leader's message, reducing its meaning to
demagoguery. Opposition groups like
BAMN say affirmative action provides
access for minorities and women who
have experienced societal inequalities for
"It makes all the more duplicitous their
hiding behind the picture of Martin Luther
King," BAMN co-chair and national organ-
izer Shanta Driver said.
But in some ways, O'Brien claimed,
the KKK and BAMN are similar. They
both believe that "people should be treat-
ed differently based on what color they
are," he said.
Portraying both BAMN and the KKK as
extremist organizations, MCRI co-chair and
state Rep. Leon Drolet (R-Clinton Twp.) said
he doubts that this endorsement will affect
"Any reasonable person would repudiate
the Klan, as we would repudiate anyone who
advocates against human equality," he said.
MCRI's campaign, which began in January,
has persisted despite opposition in the courts
and on the streets. The group has sent out
about 20,000 petitions, O'Brien estimates,
though it has received few signatures. He said
that since it is only February, people do not
feel a "sense of urgency" in returning the
forms. The group is 38 days into its 180-day-
O'Brien would not comment on the group's
financial position. He approximated that 500
to 1,000 people - mostly young people -
have volunteered to collect signatures. MCRI
has yet to hire petitioners.
Groups like BAMN and state leaders
like U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich)
have opposed the group since the start of
the campaign. BAMN has launched a
"Decline to Sign" campaign and promis-
es to protest anywhere petitioners are
MCRI is also facing two lawsuits. One suit
was filed by BAMN, represented by the law
firm Scheff and Washington and joined by
Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharp-
ton and the Michigan Legislative Black Cau-
cus. The lawsuit questions the legality of
MCRI's petition form.
The other lawsuit, initiated by two
lawyers who represented the University
in the Supreme Court, questions the
legal premise of the proposed constitu-
Continued from Page 1
LSA senior Jackie Bray, chair of the Peace and Justice
Commission of the Michigan Student Assembly said she
noticed a significant increase in the number of freshmen
politically involved on campus.
"I think (an increase occurred) this year in particular
because young people realize that the politics of this country
are moving in the wrong direction," she said.
Bray also said that she was excited that young people were
actively taking stands, as opposed to just discussing problems.
But Frohlich said he thought the University's percentage is
low. "I'm surprised that student apathy is so high,"he said.
Other students also thought that political interest among
freshmen would be higher. LSA freshman, Katie Feary said
she often notices political interest on campus.
"I am surprised because wherever you go, there are
always prevalent issues being discussed and it's hard to get
away from them;" Feary said.
The study was conducted in conjunction with a national
survey done by the Cooperative Institutional Research Pro-
gram at the Higher Education Research Institute at the Uni-
versity of California in Los Angeles.
the michigan daily
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