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November 21, 2014 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-21

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2A - Friday, November 21, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 4

LEFT LSA junior Christine Yu
paints her own cup at "Mochas
and Masterpieces" at the Ann
Arbor Arts Center Wednesday
evening. (Rita Morris/Daily)
RIGHT Members of Groove
perform on the Diag to promote
their fundraising event Monday.
(Sam Mousigian/Daily)

From Page 1A
University's administration.
Most prominently, BAMN has
criticized the University for fail-
ing to increase minority enroll-
ment. According to the Office of
the Registrar, the University's
population of underrepresent-
ed minority students remained
roughly stagnant over the past
year, totaling just above 10 per-
After about an hour, Schlissel
reconvened the meeting inside
the Regents Room in the Flem-
ing Administration Building,
noting the meeting had been
adjourned for "public safety
reasons" and a transcript of the
reconvened portion would be
posted online.
"I certainly respect the right
of the group to speak up and tell
us their opinion about some-
thing important," Schlissel said
in an interview with The Michi-
gan Daily after the meeting. "I'm
disappointed that they chose to
disrupt the meeting, but we were
able to conduct the business of the
University in this separate venue
as needed."
The meeting in Fleming last-
ed about 10 minutes. The board
quickly voted to approve the
renovation projects listed on the
November agenda, including
schematic designs for the David
From Page 1A
information disseminated by
tobacco companies, Lewis said
the truth is also obscured for
political reasons.
In 1994, the cigarette manu-
facturer Phillip Morris filed a

M. Dennison Building and the
new Biological Science Building.
Though staff members of the
University's Office of Public
Affairs alerted the media to the
venue change and noted a tran-
script of the meeting would be
made available to the public, a
general announcement regarding
the venue change was not made
inside the Anderson Room.
The University maintains that
relocating the meeting did not
violate Michigan's Open Meet-
ings Act, which specifies that
decisions of public bodies - like
the University's Board of Regents
- must be made at a meeting open
to the public.
Across Regents Plaza, signs
on the Administration Build-
ing doors read, "The building is
LOCKED." Security officials ini-
tially declined entry to Michigan
Daily reporters until a regent told
the officers to permit entry.
University spokesman Rick
Fitzgerald confirmed that only
news media were allowed into the
Apart from the regents and
executive officers, the only mem-
bers of the public present inside
the Regents Room were members
of the media, Central Student
Government President Bobby
Dishell, a Public Policy senior, and
public affairs staff.
Though the Open Meetings Act
says meetings must be held "in a
place available to the public," it is
$10 billion lawsuit against ABC
alleging its "Day One" special
report was libelous. The series -
which also included another law-
suit, which resulted in the same
settlement - reported that the
companies used extra nicotine in
their cigarette products to keep
people smoking.
Lewis said ABC not only opted
to apologize for the report, but

likely the University could have
legally excluded the protesters
from entering the new meeting
location. The law states, "A per-
son shall not be excluded from a
meeting otherwise open to the
public except for a breach of the
peace actually committed at the
After the regents had left the
Anderson Room, BAMN group
members shouted their demands
to a half empty room for more
than an hour. The group later
marched toward the Student
Activities Building, which
houses the University's Office
of Undergraduate Admissions,
and continued chanting as they
moved up and down streets near
the Union.
BAMN has called on the Uni-
versity to adopt a "10 percent
plan," similar to a policy in Texas,
where the top 10 percent of every
in-state high school graduating
class is guaranteed admission to
any of the state's public institu-
In addition to increasing
minority enrollment, BAMN
has demanded the University
improve transparency related to
sexual assault allegations.
"We don't want to wait another
year to see the results of another
failure of another committee,
another failure of another lan-
guage campaign, and see those
numbers of minority enroll-
ment drop again like they have
also retracted another documen-
tary on U.S. tobacco exports to
other countries.
"People in ABC were told to kill
a half-million dollar documentary
about how U.S. has been exporting
tobacco outside the U.S. In the name
of free trade, tobacco was allowed
be grown, sold, manufactured and
advertised to children and others
around the world," he said.

been doing over the last five to 10
years," Alvarenga said at a press
conference before the meeting.
He said the efforts the Univer-
sity has made in response to their
other requests have been inad-
"The University's solutions for
this year are the same solutions
the administration has been giv-
ing for years and years at this Uni-
versity," he said. "They have just
created more campaigns about
inclusion but in reality they don't
address the real problem, which
is that drop of minority enroll-
In an interview after the meet-
ing, E. Royster Harper, vice presi-
dent for student life, said the
board was trying to listen, but
BAMN made it difficult.
"I was disappointed," she said.
"They are talking about issues
that are important to us, but in a
way that makes it hard for them
to be heard. I'm not going to
hear you if I'm scared that you
are going to hurt me. I'm just not
going to hear it. That is the down-
side of the strategy."
BAMN has not requested a
meeting with administrators,
Harper said.
"If you want to sit down and
talk about the issue we can cre-
ate an environment to do that to,"
Harper said. "This isn't a situa-
tion where people have asked for
a conversation and they have been
However, Lewis did not entire-
ly place blame on institutions for
delayed awareness of tobacco's
harmful effects on health. He said
public apathy is also responsible,
and he is concerned that the pub-
lic is not as media-literate as it has
been in the past.
"News consumption and paid
subscription has been going down
in this country for more than

the noise
and the
very little
got accom-
she said.
ing to
the only
CSG has
had with
was fund-
ing a bus
for them
to travel to
ton, D.C. a
few years
with them,
they don't
ily want to.
work with
someone as

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much as use them as a platform
and there is not really a lot of give
and take there," Dishell said. "I
don't see us having a strong work-
ing relationship with them in the
In an interview with The Daily
a half-century," he said. "Does
that mean the public is getting
its news elsewhere? No. We have
this disengagement that includes
absorbing information and being
interested in knowing the infor-
Lewis said individuals must
expose themselves to news media
to remain aware of current issues,
but the public must also pay atten-

after the protest, BAMN orga-
nizer Kate. Stenvig, a University 4
alum, said she thinks the group
got their message across.
"We won't accept another year
of false promises," Stenvig said.
"We want results now."
tion to the quality of the sources
as well.
"Quality begets quality," he said.
"If you consume sophisticated,
complex, interesting information
about the most important issues
of our time, you are probably more
cognizant of those issues and actu-
ally understand the implications.
You are what you read, and you are
what you watch."

From Page 1A
ban on affirmative action.
"I believe the 10 percent plan
works because to say that these
students, the top 10 percent of
students at these schools, aren't
intelligent enough or aren't
equipped enough to come here is
just a complete joke," she said.
However, University President

Mark Schlissel said the Univer-
sity would not be likely to imple-
ment admissions strategies like a
percentage-based plan, arguing
they are ineffective in an Octo-
ber interview with The Michigan
"I'm not sure that's necessar-
ily the answer, or at least there's
not strong evidence that that's the
answer in the context of our laws
here in the state," he said.
The 10 percent rule was origi-


nally conceived to increase diver-
sity on campuses after the Fifth
Circuit Court outlawed other
affirmative action policies in
Texas during the 1996 court case
Hopwood v. Texas. Hopwood
was eventually invalidated by the
2003 U.S. Supreme Court deci-
sion in Grutter v. Bollinger, which
upheld the use of affirmative
action for a narrow interest like
ensuring diversity.
In 2009, the state legislature
modified the law to allow only
the University of Texas at Aus-
tin to cap admissions from the 10
percent plan when the numbers
made up more than 75 percent of
reserved spots for in-state stu-
dents. The other 25 percent of
enrolled students are admitted
through a race-conscious, holis-
tic review process.
In the 2013 case Fisher v.
University of Texas at Austin,
the Fifth Circuit Court, after
having the case remanded back
from the U.S. Supreme Court,
decided that the university's use
of the "holistic," race-conscious
admissions process for the 25
percent of reserved spots was
valid in addition to the effects of
the 10 percent plan.
Gary Susswein, director of
University Media Relations at
the University of Texas at Aus-
tin, said the original version of
the law limited the university's
ability to have any discretion
over the admissions process
because automatically admit-
ted in-state students were filling
almost the entire cohort of each
entering freshman class. The

modification went into effect in
California and Florida have
also implemented top 9 percent
and top 20 percent plans, respec-
tively, after those states banned
affirmative action.
Shortly before the Supreme
Court ruled in Grutter v. Bol-
linger and Gratz v. Bollinger, both
in 2003, the University issued a
release responding to percent-
based plans enacted in Texas,
California and Florida.
The statement argued that the
plans failed to evaluate students
holistically, encouraged racially
segregated high schools, discour-
aged students from attending
competitive schools and disad-
vantages universities with large
out-of-state populations.
The release also notes that
adopting the plan would require a
statewide university system, like
the University of Texas or Univer-
sity of California system, which
does not exist in Michigan. In
Michigan, admittance to one pub-
licly funded university does not
guarantee admittance to another.
According to University of
Texas at Austin enrollment data,
the policy has yielded mixed
In the last two decades, the
school has practiced several dif-
ferent admissions policies. In
1996, the university's admis-
sions office practiced affirmative
action. That year, Black and His-
panic freshman enrollment was
4 percent and 15 percent, respec-
By 1998, the Hopwood decision

barred the university from con-
sidering race in admissions. After
the legislature enacted HB 588,
Black and Hispanic enrollment
hovered between 3 to 4 percent
and 14 to 16percent, respectively.
In 2004, with affirmative
action upheld in the Grutter deci-
sion, Black freshman enrollment
jumped slightly to 5 percent and
Hispanic freshmen enrollment
reached 16 percent.
Though minority enrollment
numbers have increased slightly
at the University of Texas at Aus-
tin, this jump has been partly due
to the reinstatement of affirma-
tive action, which is currently
banned in Michigan.
In California and Florida,
states with similai- percentage-
based plans, the results have also
been mixed.
Susswein, the director of
media relations at the University
of Texas at Austin, said automati-
cally admitting the top 10 per-
cent of in-state applicants allows
hardworking students to attend a
top state college or university. He
noted the policy has resulted in
improved attendance from rural
parts of the state, historically
underserved by the school.
In addition to the policy, the
school uses a holistic review pro-
cess, provides financial assistance
for first-generation college stu-
dents and employs academic pro-
grams in underperforming high
schools within the state.
Though Susswein declined to
comment on the efficacy of the
percent plan - citing ongoing
litigation in Fisher v. Texas - the

university's legal brief in the case
argues for the necessity of race-
conscious admissions, noting that
just relying on the 10 percent plan
is not an effective method for
achieving full racial diversity. 14
The brief, which argues for the
need to maintain an affirmative
action policy in the absence of
race-neutral alternatives, states
that the 10 percent plan failed to
significantly increase underrep-
resented minority enrollment.
The brief also states the policy
made it more difficult for under-
represented minority students to
gain admission under the normal
holistic review admission pro-
Law School Prof. Mark Rosen-
baum, a visiting law professor
at the University of California,
Irvine and chief counsel with the
American Civil Liberties Union
of Southern California, said per-
cent plans in California had "no
impact" on improving diversity
at the state's most elite "flagship,"
like the Berkeley and Los Angeles
"In a state as segregated as
Michigan and with Michigan at
the bottom of the nation when it
comes to resourcing K-12 public
schools, particularly those in high
poverty communities, a percent
plan is unlikely to achieve much
(of) anything in the way of diver-
sity, and runs the risk of diverting
focus from measures that might
have some impact," he wrote in an
e-mail interview.
Instead, he said he would
encourage the regents to use
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