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November 08, 2006 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-08

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12A - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

O0 Percentage
decline in
black enroll-
ment at
in year after
Prop 209

After four decades of
championing affirmative action ...

By Anne VanderMey I Daily News Editor


Number of
black stu-
dents in this
year's fresh-
man class

Dollars University Presi-
dent Mary Sue Cole-
man has donated to One
United Michigan in the
last 2 weeks, bringing her
total donation to $7,500
Court jus-
tices who
voted to
uphold 'U'
tive action
in 2003
Court jus-
tices who
voted against
'U' affirma-
tive action
in 2003
First year the University
Law School began consid-
ering race in admissions

TOP: Protesters call
for an end to racial
inequality on the steps
of Angell Hall during
1970's Black Action
Movement strike.
MIDDLE: James Duder-
stadt,former University
president, chats with
students. Duderstadt
created the Michigan
Mandate as proost.
BOTTOM: Members of
the National Women's
Rights Organizing
Coalition marches for
affirmative action in

The University has been a lead-
er in affirmative action for four
decades. But its role as a key player
may be over after yesterday's vote
to ban most public affirmative
action programs in the state.
The Law School became one of
the first schools in the country to
enact affirmative action about 42
years ago. In the early sixties was
not infrequent to have no black stu-
dents in the Law School's gradu-
ating classes. It was a worrisome
reality for the school's admissions
team at the time, said Law School
Prof. Douglas Kahn, then a member
of the admissions commission.
In 1965, administrators decided to
do something about it, creating the
"We didn't draft a policy," he
said. "We just did it. That was all
there was to it."
And so affirmative action was
unceremoniously born on campus.
Race-based admissions policies
propagated across campus soon
Minority presence on campus
soared, but while affirmative action
claimed some credit for a more
integrated campus, a turbulent
social climate and aggressive stu-
dent activism was probably more
directly responsible, history Prof.
Matthew Lassiter said.
In 1970, members of the Black
Action Movement shut down cam-
pus, demanding that the University
enroll one black student for every
tenwhite students. Kahnwas one of
the few professors who attempted
to hold class. He recalls protesters
actually carrying one philosophy
professor from the classroom.
Eventually, the focus of the
debate shifted from helping disad-
vantaged minorities to embracing
diversity as an end in itself.
The MichiganMandate,craftedin
1987 by then-Provost James Duder-
stadt, was an ambitious directive to
University officials to admit or hire
minorities whenever possible. Dud-
erstadt has written that the mandate
was in the tradition of P19-century
University President James Angell's
vision for the University to provide
"an uncommon education for the
common man." What was new about
the mandate was itsfocus on diversi-
ty's benefits to the University rather
than to the disadvantaged.

The program aimed to dramati-
cally change the campus's racial
composition by pushing to bring in
enough minorities so that people of
color would compose one-third of
the student body.
It didn't work. But it came close.
Minority enrollment rose from 11
percentin1986 to 26 percent a decade
later, close to the number today.
Administrators say the mandate is at
least partially responsible for this.
The brewingnationalbattle over
affirmative action came to a head in
2003 in the landmark cases Grutter
v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger,
when the University was forced
to amend its strong raced-based
admissions program, which award-
ed students as many as 20 points
on a 150-point scale for being of an
underrepresented minority group.
The University fiercely defended
itself against charges of reverse
discrimination to the very top of
the country's justice system.
"We would hear 'Thank you'
wherever we went," Courant said.
"That really is leadership."
But the lawsuits were the begin-
ning of the end of race-based
admissions policies. Many of the
same people who fought the Uni-
versity in 2003 are now backers of
Proposal 2. What they could not
accomplish through the courts in
2003, Jennifer Gratz and company
won yesterday in the ballot box.
As affirmative action as we know
it leaves campus, there has been little
high, administrators don't expect
protests to approach the scale of the
Black Action Movementstrikes.
Yesterday's vote signals the end
of an era of University leadership.
Though the University has commit-
ted to pursuing an aggressive legal
alternative to affirmative action,
minority enrollment will almost
certainly decrease. Once a bastion
for affirmative action programs,
the University will likely fall behind
in diversity and multicultural pro-
grams, as did California afterasimi-
lar law passed there ten years agg.
said yesterday that while the fiiial
result of the ban is unknowable, the
University may retain its spot in
the limelight if there is significant
legislative backlash, but he did not
speculate about its likelihood.
"We'll wait and see," he said.


of black stu-
dents who
now gradu-
ate within
six years
of entering
the Univer-
sity - up
10 percent
from 1990

REACTION - From page lA

Percentage of this
year's freshman class
that is H is panic
Percentage of this
year's freshmanc
class that is black
for Ward
The former universify of Califor-
nia system regenf helped topple
af firmation atin in Califurnia with
Pru pusitiun 209 in 1996 an d in
Michigan yesterday. Is his crusade
lust beginning?

Purdy recalled a campus visit
Monday during which Debbie Din-
gell, wife of congressman John Din-
gell, heralded the results of a recent
poll that showed Proposal 2 losing
by a margin of about 10 points.
"It's been the talk of the town,"
Purdy said. "It really fired people
up, motivated them."
Jenn Pae, a University of Califor-
nia at SanDiego graduate with "first-
hand Ward Connerly experience,"
said that it was still anybody's game.
A fewstudentshadevenbussedin
from Wisconsin, which is rumored
to be Connerly's next stop in his cru-
sade against affirmative action.
Nearby, LSA senior Kellyn Parker
cut a path away from the flyers and
pamphlets. Proposal 2 was impor-
tant to activists, he said, but the stu-
dent body seemed mostly apathetic.
"We hear about the issues,"
he said. "But we still have to take
On his way from the precinct at
East Quad Residence Hall, Eastern
Michigan University student Bren-
dan Keeley paused by a column
swathed in warped anti-Proposal
2 posters - some handmade, some
carefully crafted and printed.
Proposal 2 is bad policy, he said,
a bill pushed past an unsuspecting
electorate with a fraudulent title
- it's also known as the Michigan
Civil Rights Initiative - and ques-
tionable rationales.
But Michigan, he said, is a notori-
ously divided state.
"Outside of Ann Arbor, man, I
don't know," he said. "Just go north
of here. It's a different world."
Despite his opposition to the
proposal, he said his overall reac-
tion would likely be "much of what
everyone else's is" - simple leth-
"It's a bit of dark thinking," he
said. "But it's realistic."

Across campus, near Mr. Greeks
restaurant, an LSA senior seemed to
confirm Keeley's fears.
"I barely know Proposal 2," he
said. "I feel that the people on the
Diag are so focused on getting you
to vote, they don't take the responsi-
bility to educate you on the issues."
"Yeah, they did," his friend inter-
rupted. "You just didn't take the
responsibility to educate yourself"
"Fine," he said. "I just don't care.
I'm not from Michigan."
The pale light, shrouded by thick
clouds throughout the day, was fad-
ing by 6 p.m.
In the Michigan Union, the last
ebb of voters were filing through
the Pendleton Room. About 20 feet
below the thin cardboard booths,
others mulled more immediate
choices: sandwich toppings and
smoothie flavors.
One LSA junior sat browsing
study-abroad options for next
semester. He's generally for affir-
mative action, he said, but didn't
register to vote this year. "This just
isn't my election," he said.
About 30 feet away, seniors
Cheryl Clark and Sabrina Biggens
were studying. Both had voted "no"
on Proposal 2 earlier in the day.
Upstairs, the polls were closing.
"I'll be utterly disappointed if it
passes," Clark said. "People don't
feel it will affect them as much as
they should."
Butskepticism is just another part
of being black in America, Biggens
said, particularly since the 2004 re-
election of President Bush.
"There's a disenchantment
between voting and what will actu-
ally happen," she said. "We know
it's the right thing to do, but it
doesn't seem like it matters."
By 9 p.m., early reports showed
Proposal 2 up by about 30 percent.

For many campus activists, the
day culminated at Leopold Broth-
ers, a bar on Main Street, or in an
East Jefferson living room, where
the College Democrats held their
victory party.
At Leopold Brothers, members
of the Graduate Employees Orga-
nization and Students of Color of
Rackham were gathered around the
bar's long wooden tables. It was a
time for them to loosen nerves taut
from three weeks of intensive phone
banking and canvassing with beer
and nachos.
"People here are hopeful, but try-
ing to be realistic," said Courtney
Cogburn, president of Students of
Color of Rackham. "If (Proposal 2)
does pass, we're thinking abouthow
things will change."
When asked how he thought it
would turn out, Students Support-
ing Affirmative Action member
Hugo Shi shrugged. "We'll find out
On East Jefferson Avenue, Purdy
had shed her donkey outfit. In a Col-
lege Democrats shirt, she joined the
mass of students packed in small
blue living room of College Demo-
crats member Molly Bates's house.
Spirits were still high. Over Jell-
O shots, Purdy pointed out that the
first reports were from Alpena -
not the most representative section
of the Michigan population.
By 10 p.m., more reports were
streaming in.
Granholm and Stabenow's victo-
ries were met with cheers. Dingell's
lopsided win with mostly laughter.
Proposal 2 alone bred silence. Its
advantage was eroding, but not fast
LSA senior Staci Daniels panto-
mimed a trickling motion, showing
that the precinct counts were working
their way southward, toward more
liberal parts of the state. "Detroit will
balance it out," she said.
As she spoke, a Proposal 2 vic-

"We hear about the issues. But we still
have to take exams."
-LSA senior Kellyn Parker,
on student apathy to Proposal 2

tory party in an East Lansing Mar-
riott Hotel was gearing up. Ryan
Fantuzzi, chair of the Washtenaw
County Michigan Civil Rights Ini-
tiative, was jubilant.
"I feelgreat. In abouthalf anhour
we're going to be breaking out the
champagne," he said. "We'll finally
be able to focus on the real issues."
Alongside Ward Connerly, he
described an atmosphere of relief
and triumph. "You can feel it in the
air. It's very light. It feels like it's
Christmas Eve."
Also in Lansing, a slightly more
cautious, but equally pleased
AndrewBoyd, chair of Young Amer-
icans for Freedom, offered his reac-
tion. "At least one part of Michigan
is going in the right direction," he
said, referring to the other races,
which ended in almost exclusively
Democratic victories.
"I'm very encouraged, very
happy," he said. "It's great we'll
finally have equality."
The atmosphere back on East Jef-
ferson was conflicted.
As CNN announced that national
Democrats had taken control of
the House, the room erupted in
anlause. Just a few were silent.

Proposal 2 hadn't been called yet,
but it had a sizeable lead.
Purdy and Daniels took the
opportunity to exit quietly, saying
little and keeping their emotions in
"We put hours of work into it,"
LSA sophomore Brent Durr said. "I
thought we probably had a chance
because of the way it was phrased."
Durr, who said he marked white
on his University application
despite his half-black, half-Mexican
heritage, opposed Proposal 2 in part
because of his personal experiences
with racial prejudice.
Back at Leopold Brothers, Shi's
voice was tense. "This is bad for us,
bad for the state, and bad for the
Earlier, near the Diag, an LSA
sophomore and freshman admitted
that they had not heard of Proposal
2 before yesterday.
"I don't twhink they should total-
lyban (affirmative action),"onesaid,
but added she hadn't registered in
time to vote.
"I really should be registered,"
she said and turned toward her
friend. "I'll be registered soon."
"It's a little late now." he renlied.


From page lA
"We did a great job on campus,"
Tanner said. "But ultimately the
lies and deceptions prevailed."
While Michiganvoters approved
Proposal 2 by a 16-percent mar-
gin with 95 percent of precincts
reporting as of 4 a.m. last night,
University students voted deci-
sively against the amendment. In
predominantly student precincts
around campus, Proposal 2 failed

75 to 21 percent.
The amendment to the state Con-
stitution will go into effect some-
time in late December, depending
on the day that the Secretary of
State certifies the election results.
Unless a judge delays the imple-
mentation of the amendment, the
admissions policies halfway through
this year's admissions cycle.
Marvin Krislov, the Universi-
ty's general counsel, confirmed
last week that the University may
request a stay to delay the imple-
mentation of the amendment.
In the coming weeks, University

administrators will have to review
admissions, hiring and outreach
programs to ensure that they are in
compliance with the new law.
In an interview earlier this
month, Maya Kobersy, assis-
tant general counsel, said while
reviewing programs, the Univer-
sity would look for ways to main-
tain diversity.
Julia Darlow, a Democrat
who was elected to the Board of
Regents yesterday, said the Uni-
versity should support an inter-
pretation of the new law that will
preserve as many of the Universi-
ty's programs as possible.

Students at the College Democrats election-watching party last night react to
early precinct returns predicting the passage of Proposal 2.


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