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2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, May 15, 2002
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EDITED AND MANAGED BY
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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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Editorial Page Editor
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Students achieve victory in Law School case
BY AGNES ALEOBUA, JESSICA CURTIN AND
In a stunning victory yesterday for pro-affirma-
tive action and pro-integrationist forces in our socie-
ty, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the
University Law School's affirmative action policy in
a 5-4 decision. This decision overturns U.S. Judge
Bernard Friedman's segregationist ruling and pre-
vents higher education from being resegregated in
Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
This victory is a direct result of student mobi-
lizations organized by United for Equality and Affir-
mative Action, the student intervenor-defendant's
organization, and the Coalition to Defend Affirma-
tive Action and Integration and Fight for Equality
By Any Means Necessary.
The 6th Circuit decision represents a definitive
departure from the 5th and 1lth Circuit's anti-affir-
mative action decisions in the Hopwood and Johnson
cases. Grutter v. Bollinger is the only case in which
students intervenors put on a full case at trial.
The strength of students' voices in the court-
room and voices in the street is clearly reflected in a
concurrent decision written by Justice Clay and
signed onto by Justices Daughtrey, Moore and Cole.
Clay writes, "Diversity in education, at its base,
is the desegregation of a historically segregated pop-
ulation and, as the intervenors essentially argue,
Bakke and Brown must therefore be read together so
as to allow a school to consider race or ethnicity in
its admissions for many reasons, including to reme-
dy past discrimination or present racial bias in the
educational system." Clay, along with the student
intervenors, recognizes that equality is the funda-
mental issue at stake in this case, referring in his
opinion to slavery, the Civil War, and Brown v.
Board of Education.
Clay also adopts the intervenors' argument that
racism crosses class lines and thus necessitates
affirmative action for middle-class black students
as well. Clay writes, "It is naive to believe that
because an African American lives in an affluent
neighborhood, he or she has not known or been the
victim of discrimination such that he or she cannot
relate to the same life experiences as the impover-
ished black person."
Justice Clay concurs with the student inter-
venors' assertion that standardized tests are racist
and sexist: "Using a lottery for all students above
certain threshold figures for their GPA and LSAT is
in no way 'race-neutral' as reflected in the record.
For example, the record indicates ... that perform-
ance on tests such as the LSAT and the SAT corre-
lates with an applicant's race and gender. In other
words, the record indicates that LSAT scores are
neither race-neutral or gender-neutral criteria for
Finally, Clay sides with the intervenors' long-
time assertion that abandonment of affirmative
action would result in the resegregation of higher
education: "Indeed, on the record before us, any
purportedly race-neutral policy could result in a de
facto segregated law school, the deleterious results
of which have long been known by society and
rejected by the Court."
The resegregationist Center for Individual
Rights has already announced that it will appeal yes-
terday's decision. We will repeat our victory at the
coming Supreme Court showdown.
Students who have been a part of this movement
have already done what we were told was impossi-
ble. We have successfully defended affirmative
action in the conservative federal court system and
prevented higher education from being resegregated
in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. We
achieved this historic victory by organizing and
mobilizing the forces in our society that stand
against racism and believe in the vision of the Civil
Rights Movement of an equal and integrated society.
The next steps of our movement will be to
organize a national petition campaign to collect
I million signatures and to organize a National
March on Washington to coincide with the Supreme
Court hearing of the University cases. On May 31
and June 1 there will be a Conference of the New
Civil Rights Movement which will be held at the
University to plan the petition campaign and the
March on Washington. Rev. Jesse Jackson has said
he will attend the conference. Please check the
BAMN website (www.bamn.com) for conference
details and updates about how you can become a
part of our generation's Brown v. Board of Education
and the new civil rights movement.
Aleobua is an LSA junior; Curtin is a Rackham student
and Royal is an LSA senior The writers are members of
BAMNand student intervenors in Grutter
The failures of affirmative action at the 'U'
BY JUSTIN WILSON
I am more than my race, class and gender.
In fact, I'd venture to say that my race, class and
gender probably play a small role in who I truly
am. Yet, in the eyes of the University, I'm just
another check in a box - another white, mid-
dle-class, male applicant. But does a couple of
check marks measure what I bring to campus?
No, and to think so is to disrespect the very
heart of human dignity. We are all much more
than just the color of our skin. Yet according to
yesterday's ruling, which upheld the Law
School's use of racial preferences and the 1978
Bakke decision, that is all I am - a nameless,
faceless, white guy.
I do not deny that America has a checkered
history and I do not deny that enormous social
inequality exists. I also believe that something
must be done to resolve it, but I don't see how
we, as a nation, can reconcile affirmative action
and the ultimate goal of a color-blind society,
when affirmative action is a program that by
definition makes judgments based solely on a
person's race. How can just ends be achieved
by unjust means? Especially when those means
do not address the root of the problem or pro-
vide the best possible solution.
In the'50s and '60s, America decided that
judging anyone by their race was inappropriate,
and under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, ille-
gal. But that is exactly what the 6th Circuit's
decision allows and the University practices.
Racial preferences in university admissions
stand as the last government permissible meas-
ures that judge people by their race. How can
this stand as a compelling government interest?
The government is willing to allow unjust
means to accomplish just ends. That is, the 6th
Circuit feels that patently racist admissions
policies are A-ok, so long as they promote the
dubious concept of academic diversity.
This is an important distinction, insofar that
yesterday's decision rejects to use of affirmative
action to remedy past social injustices or promote
social equality of any sort. Under the Bakke deci-
sion, Justice Powell said that racial preference
may only be used as one of many "plus" factors in
admissions and only to create academic diversity.
As a result, the University claims that the
necessity of a "critical mass" of minorities,
which might as well be a quota system, is a
compelling government interest. They contend
that the presence of minorities in a law school
positively benefits the entire institution. And
they also hold that they must admit a "critical
mass" of minorities to prevent the others from
feeling isolated or lonely.
The problem is that academic diversity is a
sham and only a cover for the University's hid-
den social justice agenda. Never once has an
administrator uttered a word about affirmative
action and social equality. To do so would be
legal suicide, as their cover-up might be
exposed and ruled unconstitutional under
Bakke. Instead, they all toe the diversity line. It
is not only disingenuous to the community and
legal system, but disrespectful to the very dig-
nity of minorities.
A Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and
Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means
Necessary member once said, "Minorities are
not like trees - they can't bring ushere to .
make campus a little prettier." But that is
exactly what the administration is doing. The
diversity defense does nothing but use minori-
ties to make campus a little more colorful.
The sad fact is that for all the efforts the
University has undertaken to create diversity,
campus remains largely segregated. From sepa-
rate but equal residence hall lounges to segre-
gated so-called multi-cultural student groups,
the University community has failed in foster-
ing true diversity.
This raises a much broader question: What
According to the Law School, it is little
more than an applicant's race, class and gender,
but we are much more than that. But the univer-
sity largely ignores an applicant's true diversity,
insofar that real diversity runs counter to the
hidden agenda of admitting a large number of
minorities to promote social justice. There is no
other reason explaining why the University
ignores so many other factors. In his dissent,
Justice Boggs points out that the University
completely disregards many other critical fac-
tors influencing diversity-such as religion, geo-
graphic region or political persuasion, at the
same time, Jews, Michiganders and liberals are
all over-represented. Yesterday's ruling support-
ing the University's idea diversity is insulting
and degrading. It is divisive and runs counter to
the very idea of equality.
Wilson is an LSA senior and Editor in Chief of
The Michigan Review.
THE LONG JOURNEY TO GRUTTER: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES
"Preferring members of any one group for no
reason other than race or ethnic origin is discrim-
ination for its own sake'."
- Supreme Court Justice Lewis Pow-
ell's opinion in Bakke on June 28, 1978.
"In any event, we have said before and I
now reiterate our commitment to make the
University accessible to minority students."
- Former University President Robben
Fleming in response to the Bakke ruling on
Throughout our history we have included stu-
dents from diverse geographical, racial, ethnic
and socioeconomic backgrounds."
- Former President Lee Bollinger on
Oct. 14, 1997.
"The quality of the educational learning
environment that we provide to our students is
very affected by the variety of students we
bring to campus."
- Former LSA Dean Edie Goldenberg in
evil. This will be the great battle to eliminate
affirmative action nationwide."
- Michigan Rep. David Jaye (R-
Macomb) on Oct. 14, 1997.
"At its core, affirmative action should
try to offset past injustices by fashioning a
campus population more truly reflective of
modern America and our hopes for the
future. Unfortunately, a pair of lawsuits
brought against my alma mater pose a threat
tions of higher education is vital to amici's
efforts to hire and maintain a diverse work-
force, and to employ individuals of all back-
grounds who have been educated in a diverse
environment. Such a talented workforce is
important to amici's continued success in the
- Amicus curiae brief filed in Eastern
District of Michigan in both the Gratz and
Grutter cases on Oct. 16, 2000 on behalf of
ruling in Grutter on March 27, 2001.
"Every one of the 38,000 students here at the
University of Michigan deserves to be here."
- Liese Hull, academic adviser for
Inteflex program and the Comprehensive
Studies Program on March 27, 2001.
"For the first time in a decade, we Americans
find ourselves in a tough economic environment.
Although forecasts are optimistic for pulling the