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June 02, 2003 - Image 14

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-06-02

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2003

ADMISSIONS LAWSUIT

N

THE DEBATE OVER RACE-CONSIOUS ADMISSIONS 4

By Tomislav Ladika
March 31, 2003
When applying to the Uni-
versity four years ago, Dave
Nelson said he was certain his
3.7 grade point average and 33
ACT score would be enough to
guarantee acceptance into the
same school his dad had
attended and raised him to
cheer for as a child.
Instead, he said, he was
shocked to first be waitlisted
and then to receive a rejec-
tion letter.
"I was very surprised. I did-
n't feel there was any way
they were going to reject me,"
said Nelson, a junior at
Michigan State University's
College of Engineering.
Although he is not certain
he was rejected because he is
white, Nelson - a graduate of
Grand Rapids Catholic Central
High School - said the Uni-
versity's race-concious admis-
sions are not a fair way to
achieve diversity.
"With the race factor, you
can have two people who
went to the same high school,
had the same classes, the
same grades, and one got in
based on the color of their
skin," he said.
The University's admissions
policies have come under fire

since 1997, when two lawsuits
were filed by two white appli-
cants, Jennifer Gratz and Bar-
bara Grutter, who felt they
were rejected from the College
of Literature, Science and the
Arts and the Law School in
part because the plus factor
given to minorities.
While most white students
with grades and test scores as
high as Nelson's are easily
accepted into the University,
a counselor from the Downs
River school district who
wished to remain anony-
mous said minority
applicants from his
school generally got
accepted with lower
grades and test scores
than white applicants.
"I would say they're
lower in general, not a
lot lower, but lower,"
said the counselor,
whose district includes
Gratz's alma mater. The
counselor said this year
many of the white students
he advises have expressed con-
cern about their chances for
admission into the University.
"When they found out how
people were accepted, they felt
it's unfair," he said. "Most feel
they cannot get in, especially
if they're Caucasian without
great grades and test scores."

By Tomislav Ladika
March 31, 2003
Critics of the University's
admissions policies may feel
LSA freshman Sarah
Barnard's 3.0 grade point
average and 22 ACT score
did not merit her accept-
ance into the University,
but she says standard-
ized tests do not ade-
quately measure an
applicant's intelli-
gence and are inher-
ently biased against
minorities.
"They don't really
show your capabili-
ties of how you can
excel at the Universi-
ty," said Barnard, a
graduate from Ann
Arbor Huron High
School. "There's no way
that a three-hour test can
measure anybody's intellec-
tual capability."
Barnard admitted she defi-
nitely would not have been
admitted into the College of
Literature, Science and the
Arts if its admissions policy
had not granted her 20 points
for being black. She was
required to take classes
SETH LOWER/Daily before the start of her fresh-
rmative action is man year through the Sum-
ck and white. mer Bridge program,
designed to prepare certain
students for University class-
es and determine whether
they are capable of succeed-
s C'ing academically.

But Barnard said the use of
race as an admissions factor,
the subject of two lawsuits
filed against LSA and the
Law School, offsets the
racism embedded in society.
"There are so many hidden
points within the (LSA) point
system that favor white stu-
dents," she said, citing exam-
ples like the points given for
legacy status and attending an
affluent high school with a
strong curriculum. "It's
because of money, because
these are students who are
mainly white, because in the
past their parents had the
opportunity to go to college."
Education seniorAgnes Ale-
obua, who also took Summer
Bridge classes after earning a
3.6 GPA and 26 ACT in high
school, said the policies ensure
that both white students
attending affluent suburban
schools and black students
attending poor inner-city
schools have the same oppor-
tunity to attend the University.
Black students are often
unprepared for college
because of their high-school
educations, said Aleobua, a
member of the Coalition to
Defend Affirmative Action
and Integration and Fight for
Equality By Any Means Nec-
essary. "The solution then
isn't to exclude them from
college. It's to have support
programs and counseling pro-
grams to make sure they're
on track when school starts."

4

The issue of affi
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