8 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 7, 2003
Continued from Page 1
According to a recent article in The Washington Post,
more than 2,000 applicants to George Washington Uni-
versity left the question blank last year, a 45 percent
jump from two years ago.
The Post also cited data from the College of William
and Mary, where almost 20 percent of applicants left
the question blank, and the University of Maryland,
where 1,500 of the schools 25,000 undergraduates have
not disclosed their race.
The University of Michigan has also seen a slight rise in the
number of applicants who skip the question, which is one of
three optional questions on the Application for Undergraduate
In 2002, 15 percent of summer and fall applicants
chose not to tell the University their ethnicity, a one
percent increase from 2001. But an estimated 17 per-
cent of applicants enrolled currently, chose not to dis-
close their race.
But University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the
marginal increases here should not be given much weight.
"That is a slight increase, but not a large one," Peter-
son said. "These figures go up and down all the time."
Peterson said the question is optional for privacy reasons
that stem from the complexity of racial identification.
"Students may answer it or not, as they choose,"
Peterson said. "Race is defined by self-identification,
that is, the racial or ethnic group that a student feels he
or she identifies with the most strongly. There's really
no other logical way to do it since racial identification
"Race is defined by self-
identification, that is, the racial or
ethnic group that a student feels
he or she identifies with the most
strongly. There's really no other
logical way to do it since racial
identification is such a complex
is such a complex topic."
Although admissions officials can also sometimes
judge an applicant's race through his or her essay, to
University officials, the race question is still crucial to
the admissions process.
"We gather information about race for a number of
reasons. ... We're working hard to admit a diverse stu-
dent body and having this information helps us in that
effort," Peterson said.
She added that the University also looks at other fac-
tors contributing to diversity that are not affected by
the question. "But there are also some federal and state
reporting requirements and we use the information
about the race and ethnicity of our students to produce
CONNERLYcountry, not robed justices. If the
C ON ~KLTpeople want color-blindness and equali-
Continued from Page 1 ty under the law, all they have to do is
what is their perception of narrow stand up and say so. I'm sure that they
and tailored," he added. will and we're going to make sure every-
Sowislo said possible legislation body hears them loud and clear."
attempts that could be brought to Michi- Despite the ACRC's claim it is
gan include a ballot responding concern
initiative to outlaw "The Court may have from Michigan's
affirmative action citizens, University
or a Racial Privacy allowed racial spokeswoman Julie
Initiative, which preferences with their Peterson said in a
would eliminate .written statement
racial databases in decision, but they did that the Universi-
local and state gov- " ty's admissions
ernment. TheRPIis not mandate them. policies are in
currently scheduled alignment with the
to be on California's - Ward Connerly objectives of the
primary ballot in American Civil Rights Coalition state's citizens.
March 2004. Chariman "A wide array
The ACRC said of groups and
it has done a study of possible individuals, including many of the
actions opposers of affirmative top corporations in Michigan, agree
action can take in the wake of the with us and have supported our
Supreme Court's decisions in the efforts," Peterson said in the state-
University's lawsuits, which ment. "The Supreme Court ren-
includes a statewide initiative cam- dered a wise, fair and balanced
paign in Michigan. decision on how universities may
"The Court may have allowed racial appropriately use affirmative action
preferences with their decision, but they in assembling a student body that is
did not mandate them," Connerly said in both academically excellent and
the statement. "The people still rule m racially diverse," she added.
k y '~fiietii
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