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June 16, 2008 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-06-16

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Monday, June 16, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

EFte ffidigan &il
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan since
1890.
420 Maynard St.
AnnArbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

EMMARIE HUETTEMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

GARY GRACA
MANAGING EDITOR

KATE TRUESDELL
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect theuofficial position of the Daily's editorial board. Allother signed articles and illustrations
represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
FROM T EALtY
Tallying the damage
TWo years later, 'U' data suggests fighting harder against ban
W hen underrepresented minority acceptance plummeted in the first admis-
sions cycle after the affirmative action ban passed in 2006, the University
chalked it up as a misleading anomaly. This year's admissions class would be
the one that mattered - the first freshman class admitted completely without race- and
gender-based affirmative action. And the results aren't as clear as everyone had predicted.
The one clear thing, though, is that Michigan's ban on race- and gender-based affirmative
action continues to be an unnecessary restriction on the University's ability to maintain a
diverse campus.

Joble s S need ai d
Unemployed require help from feds
A merica's unemployed unemployment benefits was
usually have just 26 first brought to the House last
weeks to pick them- Wednesday, a week after the
selves back up. But Thursday, national increase in unemploy-
the U. S. House of Representa- ment was realized.
tives passed a bill extending Ideally, each state would
the time Americans can receive provide unemployment aid
unemployment benefits from 26 according to its individual eco-
weeks to 39 weeks. while this nomic need. State-basedunem-
bill would be an encouraging ployment benefit programs are
starttorejuvenatingthe national unlikely to function, however,
economy, Bush and Congressio- in states that are already suf-
nal Republicans have said that fering from failing economies
benefit extensions are only nec- and high unemployment rates.
essary when the national unem- Michigan and the other states
ployment rate is far beyond 5.5 on the high end of the unem-
percent. But even by these "con- ployment rate spectrum need
servative" standards, Michigan's immediate federal attention to
6.9-percent unemployment rate bolster their economies.
certainly qualifies. Michigan's As hopeful as this may sound
jobless are in dire need of eco- for unemployed individuals
nomic relief, and federal level around the country, Repub-
assistance is necessary to fund licans in the Senate and offi-
the benefits extension. cials at the White House have
The House bill, which passed already announced that they
274 to 137 Thursday, grants an find the bill extremely waste-
additional 13 weeks of benefits ful. The Bush administration
to all states and another 13 has said that such federal bene-
weeks on top of that to states fit expansion programs should
whose unemployment rates only be implemented when
exceed 6 percent. This means the national unemployment
that Michigan residents would rate significantly exceeds
be promised one full year of 5.5 percent. This means
$300-per- week that suffering states
benefit like Michigan, Cali-
checks to fornia, Rhode Island
aid them and Alaska will not
during a get the funding
difficult they need just
job hunt. In because the
addition to unemployment
giving Ameri- °.rate for the
cans more time to rest of the
find new jobs, the fl country
bill eradicates the 'h isn't high
current precondi- jenough.
tion that individu- If the
als work at least federal
20 weeks before bill fails
receiving any benefit to pass, it falls to
checks. the state of Michigan
While Michigan's unem- to pass the benefits extension
ployment rate has been above legislation itself and make sure
6 percent since late 2001, the the state's jobless are helped.
need for federal relief nation- With any hope, however, it
wide became particularly pro- won't come to that. The Senate
nounced last month when the and the President must recog-
national unemployment rate nize the needs of the jobless in
jumped from 5 percent in April extreme cases like these and
to 5.5 percent in May. Finally, accept this bill as a necessary
the spike in the unemployment part of getting the unemployed
rate caught the government's - and the state economy -
attention. The bill to extend back on their feet.

4

Any drop in minority enroll-
ment should be considered a
defeat. To ignore factors like
"race, sex, color, ethnicity or
national origin" is to ignore
certain realities about inequal-
ity. The fact of the matter'is that
these variables translate to struc-
tural disadvantages.
It's true that working on
improving elementary and sec-
ondary education and rebuilding
theframeworkthatdisadvantages
so many before they even pick up
college applications is important.
But acknowledging the fact that
individuals don't control these
circumstances and can't change
them alone is equally impor-
tant. That's why, when it comes
to admitting students to higher
learning institutes, accepting a
race- and gender-blind applica-
tion is tantamount to turning a
blind eye to injustice.
The effects Michigan's ban
appear to be two-fold. First,
it's evident that the number
of underrepresented minority
students who even bothered to
apply hasn't kept pace with gen-
eral admissions. Although the
University saw a 15.6-percent
increase in the total number of

applicants this year as compared
to two years ago, underrepre-
sented minority applications
increased at only a third of that
rate, a mere 4.6 percent.
More alarming, the number
of underrepresented minority
applications received this year
dropped by 2.0 percent from
last year - and that's despite
the efforts to increase minor-
ity recruitment that the Univer-
sity says it's making. This seems
to indicate that even before the
applications reach the desks of
admissions officers, the state's
ban on affirmative action may
be taking its toll by discouraging
students from even applying.
And that's not the last of it.
Race- and gender-blind admis-
sions have had an unacceptable
affect on the admissions of those
who do bother applying, as evi-
denced by the fact that 200 less
underrepresented minorities
were admitted this year com-
pared to 2006, although 122 more
applied. Granted, overall accep-
tance rates have also fallen. But
any way you slice it, the numbers
show that minority students are
being hurt by this ban.
Truth be told, the drop in

minority admissions isn't as
staggering as it could have been.
Following the passage of similar
legislation, other states saw egre-
gious drops. Opponents of affir-
mative action have argued that
drastic drops indicate that uni-
versities are making changes sig-
nificant enough to comply with
affirmative action bans. Viewed
in this light, one can't help but
wonder how much effort the
University of Michigan is putting
into ignoring the checkboxes it
has promised to disregard. And
if that effort is minimal, it should
be applauded.
Less speculatively, the Univer-
sity has its work cut out for it. It's
clear that the affirmative action
ban is having an effect. If increas-
ing recruitment efforts still
resulted in a drop in both appli-
cants and admissions for under-
represented minorities, the only
solution is for the University to
double that effort, taking every
measure possible to fight the
intended affects of banning affir-
mative action. The state needs
to overturn the restriction. But
until that happens, the Univer-
sity needs to unify with students
to keep fighting the good fight.

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