Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Congratulations to homeschooling mom and my friend Barb Grutter for her hard work and dedication to end preferential treatment at state universities. After, a fierce political fight by some Democrats and other liberal groups to keep Michigan citizens from voting on an intiaitve to end preference in admission, the Michigan Supreme Court has decided to allow The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative on the November ballot. From the AP News Service
The decision is a victory for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which has been leading the drive to let voters decide whether government and university admissions programs should be banned from giving preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin.
If this initiative passes it could strike a hard blow to affirmative action policies around our state.

Barb Grutter was the plaintiff in the US Supreme Court case, Grutter -vs- University of Michigan involving discrimination in admission to the UM Law School. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the UM. The court found among other things that:
[D]iversity is a compelling interest in higher education, and that race is one of a number of factors that can be taken into account to achieve the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.
That controversial decision led Barb to help begin an intiative to end all preferential treatment at state universities.

Side note: As a student at the UM in 1981, I learned of the preferences given to those in my dorm based on color. Up until then, I believed all applicants had to meet the same standard to get into the university. Not so. I remember being surprised that there were lounges based on race in our dormitory and elsewhere on campus that I was told were not for my use. Giving prefence to anyone based on color whether for admittance to a lounge or a law school seemed misguided then and it still does today. I hope this initiative passes.

(Thanks to La Shawn Barber for giving this some extra national attention.)

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