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September 07, 2011 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-07

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8B Wednesday September 7, 2011 // The Statement

ACTION
FromPage 7B
you,' you're going to win. You're
going to be allowed to flourish in
ways that you wouldn't flourish if
we didn't work towards making
the student body more interesting
and diverse."
Because the University com-
petes mainly with private schools
that enforce affirmative action,
and many graduates go on to
work for companies that enforce
affirmative action, the University
should also uphold the policy, he
said.
A change of heart
Along with the change in indus-
try and the progression of civil
rights, there has been a rethinking
of affirmative action within the
past two decades, Page said. As a
result, there has been a shift from
the original positive image of affir-
mative action to the argument of
reverse discrimination in the past
couple of decades as minorities
began climbing the rungs of the
social ladder.
Lempert agreed that the face
of affirmative action has changed
over time, adding that when he
-.' attended the Law School in 1966,
there was one black student out
of approximately 1,000 students.
Affirmative action has paved the
way for more minorities to become
educated despite the prejudice that
still exists, he said.
"That was the world in which
affirmative action was born,"
Lempert explained. "(Affirma-
tive action) is not quite as neces-
sary as it once was, since there's
a burgeoning middle class among

minorities. Although, prejudice
still exists and is an important fac-
tor in many peoples' lives, includ-
ing middle-class minorities. It
certainly is not as widespread or as
vicious as it was in the late 1960s
when affirmative action really
took off."
While Hutchings added that
he imagines there are racial ten-
sions caused by affirmative action,
he said those tensions actually lie
within the longstanding animos-
ity between minorities and whites,
and those tensions are the reason
policies like affirmative action
need to remain in place.
"It isn't that affirmative action
has somehow poisoned relations
between blacks and whites. It's
instead because of the poisonous
relationship between blacks and
whites, mostly because it's found-
ed on inequality," Hutchings said.
Kate Stenvig, Rackham gradu-
ate and leading member of the
Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action by Any Means Necessary
- known as BAMN - agreed that
affirmative action is necessary
because it benefits society and
helps to educate students who go
on to educate the world.
"Affirmative action benefits the
University and the society as a
whole. It has opened opportunities
for minorities, women and poor
and working-class people of all
races. Only an integrated univer-
sity can provide a world-class edu-
cation that is based on the truth,"
she said.
She added that the reversal of
Proposal 2 is permanent, minority
students will have more opportu-
nities to attend Michigan's top uni-
versities, and it will desegregate
higher education and counter the
racism and sexism in society.

r

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