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Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Colleges Regroup After Voters Ban Race Preferences
With Michigan’s new ban on affirmative action going into effect, and similar ballot initiatives looming in other states, many public universities are scrambling to find race-blind ways to attract more blacks and Hispanics.
At Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, a new admissions policy, without mentioning race, allows officials to consider factors like living on an Indian reservation or in mostly black Detroit, or overcoming discrimination or prejudice.
Others are using many different approaches, like working with mostly minority high schools, using minority students as recruiters, and offering summer prep programs for promising students from struggling high schools. Ohio State University, for example, has started a magnet high school with a focus on math and science, to help prepare potential applicants, and sends educators into poor and low-performing middle and elementary schools to encourage children, and their parents, to start planning for college.
Officials across the country have a sense of urgency about the issue in part because Ward Connerly, the black California businessman behind such initiatives in California and Michigan, is planning a kind of Super Tuesday next fall, with ballot initiatives against racial preferences in several states. He is researching possible campaigns in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, and expects to announce next month which states he has chosen.
Ann Korschgen, vice provost at the University of Missouri, said in a recent interview, “Just this morning, we had a conversation along the line of how we would continue to ensure diversity at our campus if we could not consider race.”
The issue is already heating up in Colorado. This month, two Republican representatives in Colorado asked the state to examine the University of Colorado’s spending on diversity, after a libertarian group questioned the expenditures.
Mr. Connerly said that a decade ago, when California passed its ban, Proposition 209, he thought the state was ahead of its time, but that now, he believes “the country is poised to make a decision about race, about what its place in American life is going to be — and I really believe the popular vote may be the way to achieve that.”
Both defenders and opponents of affirmative action say the lesson of last fall’s campaign in Michigan — where Proposition 2, banning race and gender preferences in public education, employment and contracting, passed by 58 percent to 42 percent despite strong opposition from government, business, labor, education and religious leaders — is that such initiatives can succeed almost anywhere.
“Certain things become popular as state initiatives, like the ban on gay marriages, and restrictions on affirmative action could become one of those things,” said Terry Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education.
If so, he said, private universities, with their wide discretion in admissions and financial aid, could have a competitive advantage regarding diversity, reshaping the landscape of higher education.
“Private universities can do whatever they want, consistent with federal law and the Supreme Court,” Mr. Hartle said. “Where minority students have a choice between selective public universities that cannot use affirmative action, and selective private universities with strong affirmative action programs, the private universities may seem like the more hospitable places, which would give them an advantage in drawing a diverse student body.”
To many educators, that would be a troubling turnabout.
“You’d think public universities are charged with special responsibility for ensuring access, but it could come to be exactly the opposite, if there are a lot of these state initiatives,” said Evan Caminker, the dean of the University of Michigan Law School, adding, “in terms of public values, it’s a big step backward.”
Mr. Connerly is unbothered: If black and Hispanic students are rare at selective universities, the solution is better academic preparation, not special treatment in admissions. “Every individual should have the same opportunity to compete,” he said. “I don’t worry about the outcomes.”
Legally, affirmative action has been a moving target. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled in cases involving the University of Michigan that race could be one of many factors in admissions, although admissions offices could not give extra points to minority candidates. Many colleges nationwide then moved to “holistic” review, considering applicants’ ethnicity, but not awarding a set number of points. In states that could face a ballot initiative campaign, though, that standard could fall.
Nationwide, after 30 years of debate, and litigation, over affirmative action, universities have made strikingly little progress toward racially representative student bodies. And recently, with growing awareness that affluent students are vastly overrepresented at selective colleges, the longstanding focus on racial diversity has been joined by a growing concern about economic diversity.
Currently, four states with highly ranked public universities — California, Florida, Michigan and Washington — forbid racial preferences, either because of ballot propositions or decisions by elected officials.
A decade after the California ban, only 2 percent of this year’s freshmen at the University of California, Los Angeles, are black: a 30-year low. Hispanic representation at U.C.L.A. has dropped, too. At Berkeley, the number of blacks in the freshman class plunged by half the year after the ban, and the number of Hispanics nearly as much.
Systemwide, blacks make up only 3 percent of U.C. freshmen, although about 7 percent of the state’s high school graduates are black. Most top black students choose private institutions over state campuses. Over all, of the top third of all students offered admission to the University of California class of 2005, most enrolled and only 19 percent went instead to selective private colleges. But among blacks in that group, 51 percent chose selective private colleges. Meanwhile, up the coast, Stanford University is enrolling more underrepresented minority students. Among this year’s freshmen, 11 percent are African-American, up from 8 percent in 1995; Hispanic enrollment has risen, too.
“Folks look for a place that’s comfortable,” said Richard Shaw, Stanford’s admissions dean. “They want a sense that there’s kids like them at the institution.”
The University of Michigan, with other state institutions, tried to win a delay of the ban so it would not hit in the middle of this year’s admissions cycle. But the courts rejected this effort, so officials have stopped considering race and gender as factors in admissions, and worry that next year’s entering class will be less diverse. Many officials worry that they will lose top minority candidates to selective private universities.
“We know from colleagues in Texas and California that if we can’t take race into account, we’re at a competitive disadvantage,” said Julie Peterson, a spokeswoman for the University of Michigan, where two-thirds of the applicants are from out of state.
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Elshafei Mohamed is one of the recipients of the 2007 North campus MLK spirit award. The award recognizes graduate and undergraduate students from the schools and colleagues on North campus who best exemplify the leadership and extraordinary vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The ceremony and reception will be held on Tuesday January 30, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. in the Art and Architecture Auditorium.
Also, longtime CAAS community member William Johnson successfully defended his dissertation in the School of Engineering. The title of William's dissertation is Reformate-Assisted Hydrocarbon Selective Catalytic NOx Reduction over Silver, Supported on Alumina Catalysts.
Once he completes corrections to his dissertation, William will join Intel. We look forward to faster chips soon!
Upcoming CEW Programs
January and February, 2007
"Your Job Search" Tuesday Series January 23 - February 20, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
You're not alone in your job search. Pick up job search ideas from CEW
counselors, HR professionals and others who are in the job market. Each
week features a different theme, described below. Come to one session or
to all of them.
January 30: Resumes
February 13: Interviewing Techniques
February 20: Negotiation Skills
February 6: Networking
Registration fee for this 5-session series is $30 and includes a copy of
the CEW Job Search Handbook. Individual sessions are $10 each.
Pre-registration is required and space is limited. To register, call
Success Circles and Job Crafting: Skills Assessment for a More Productive
Tuesday, January 30, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
CEW, 330 E. Liberty, 3rd Floor Conference Room
Presenter: Denise Stegall, Benefits Product Manager - MAIS
This presentation will focus on the elements that lead to career
satisfaction. It will teach attendees how to identify authentic career
talents, interests and values, and determine how their current careers
align with these personal qualities. FREE!
Registration is requested. To register, call 734-998-7080.
Wednesday, January 31 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
CEW, 330 E. Liberty Street
In November 2006, Michigan voters passed Proposition 2, a constitutional
amendment banning affirmative action on the basis of race, gender,
ethnicity and national origin in public education, public employment and
government contracting. The proposal has the potential to negatively affect
girls and women throughout the state of Michigan. Join this discussion
about the implications of the passage of Proposition 2 for women on campus
The CEW Mullin Welch Lecture
Jo Luck, President, Heifer International
"Extraordinary Ordinary People"
Thursday, February 15, 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Vandenburg Room, 2nd Floor, Michigan League
CEW is honored to welcome Jo Luck, President and CEO of Heifer
International, as the 2007 Mullin Welch speaker. Heifer International, an
Arkansas-based nonprofit organization, is dedicated to ending the cycle of
chronic hunger and poverty that plagues two-thirds of the planet. Jo Luck
will share with us her experiences of
helping communities to create sustainable small-scale farm enterprises and
thus to meet their nutritional, economic, environmental, and social needs.
She will also discuss the importance of education, employment, and
financial independence to alleviate poverty for future generations.
Exploring the Arts
UM Museum of Art ? Embracing Eatonville: Exhibition Tour
Wednesday, February 21, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. (Tour begins at 5:45 p.m.)
UMMA Off/Site, 1301 South University Avenue
Presenter: Pamela Reister, Associate Curator for Education, UMMA
In honor of Black History Month, join us for a tour of UMMA's Embracing
Eatonville exhibit. Eatonville, Florida, is the oldest black incorporated
town in the United States and was home to writer, Zora Neale Hurston. The
exhibition features work by contemporary photographers Dawoud Bey, Lonnie
Graham, Carrie Mae Weems, and Deborah Willis. Join us as we get a glimpse
of the spirit and character of Eatonville through these compelling
photographs. Light refreshments will be served. See www.umma.umich.edu for
full exhibition details. Registration is required as space is limited. To
register, call (734) 998-7080.
CEW 2007 Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist
Why Should Low-Wage Work Bother Me?: The Cost of Undervaluing and
Underpaying Women's Work.
Thursday, February 22, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Michigan Union, Pond Room, 1st Floor
Presenter: Anne Ladky, Executive Director, Women Employed
Despite women's progress, approximately one-third of all full time working
women earn less than $25,000 per year; over 15 million earn less than
$9/hour. When millions of workers earn too little to support their
families, they are cut off from the American dream ? the chance to build a
better life for themselves and their children. With lesser incomes, they
consume less, which threatens economic growth. Ms. Ladky will present her
findings on the serious negative consequences of low-wage work for our
families, communities, and the country's economic health.
Colleges Regroup After Voters Ban Race Preferences
Since most of Michigan is overwhelmingly white, said Mary Sue Coleman, the university’s president, a plan guaranteeing admission to a percentage of top high school graduates would have little impact, and nothing short of affirmative action will maintain the university’s racial diversity.
“Of course, you want to look at family income, and being the first in the family to attend college and those kinds of factors, of course we do that, but it doesn’t get us to a racially diverse student body,” Dr. Coleman said.
At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a program guaranteeing that low-income students can graduate debt-free helped to increase the percentage of blacks in the freshman class to 12 percent, and to increase both economic diversity and the enrollment of underrepresented minority students. Other states have started similar programs.
In Detroit, Wayne State University Law School recently adopted a new admissions policy. Jonathan Weinberg, the professor assigned last year to draft a contingency policy, looked at other states with race-blind admissions and found that instead of race, they look to “a set of broader diversity concerns that go to socioeconomic status.”
Last month, the faculty adopted his policy, eliminating any mention of race, but broadening the factors the admissions office may consider. Those include being the first in the family to go to college or graduate school; having overcome substantial obstacles, including prejudice and discrimination; being multilingual; and residence abroad, in Detroit or on an Indian reservation.
Frank Wu, the law school’s dean, said Wayne State’s effort to comply with the law could bring a legal challenge.
“There’s a new fight building,” Mr. Wu said, “and that’s going to be whether the mere fact that you’re striving for diversity means you’re somehow trying to get around the ban and find proxies, or pretexts, for race, and that that’s impermissible. It’s ironic, but in some quarters our effort to adopt a new policy to comply with Prop 2 has been interpreted as an effort to circumvent it.”
Roger Clegg, president of the Council for Equal Opportunity, which opposes racial preferences, said policies like Wayne State’s do raise questions.
“I have a real problem when schools adopt what on their face are race-neutral criteria, if they are doing so to reach a predetermined racial and ethnic goal,” Mr. Clegg said. “Both in law and in common sense, the motivation matters.”
At Ohio State University, where admissions are increasingly selective, officials are looking for a long-term answer. “When we saw what was coming down the road, we started looking to other models, but no other model results in as much diversity,” said Mabel Freeman, assistant vice president at Ohio State. “The only long-term solution is to do better in the pipeline and make sure all kids get the best education possible, K-12.
This is a Black History
Month Program Sponsored by ABPAFS
The Association of Black Professionals, Administrators,
Faculty and Staff (ABPAFS) is offering tickets to a performance
of the play, Between Men and Cattle by Richard
Kalinoski at the Detroit Repertory Theatre on Saturday, Feb.
17, at 8:30 pm.
As notes state, Between Men and Cattle centers on
the relationship between a precocious black child who won
second place in a speech competition in honor of Martin Luther
King, Jr. and a white reporter whose interview ends with the
boy in tears. When he becomes the President of a conservative
white university 30 years later, the reporter arranges a second
meeting with him, to find out, in part, what went wrong the
Tickets are $11. If you would like to purchase tickets,
please email or call Renoir
Gaither at firstname.lastname@example.org or 764-7492 to arrange delivery.
For more information on the play, see the
ABPAFS Member & CAAS Staffer's
The Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit’s (CAID) upcoming All Media Juried Exhibition, Feb 3—March 24, 2007. Artists were selected from the Great Lakes region including the Province of Ontario. The Opening is Saturday, Feb 3, 6pm to 10pm, please, please join ,
V. Robin Grice if you can.
School of Art & Design
Center for Afroamerican and African Studies
Here is a link to Robin's work
The Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit is a community based non-profit organization. CAID fosters and promotes the essential link between contemporary arts and contemporary society through its exhibitions, performances, critical and public discourse and the funding of contemporary arts and art related activities
Here are directions to CAID ( 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd):
1: Take I-94 East to Detroit
2: Take EXIT 214B toward TRUMBULL AVE. 0.1 miles Map
3: As you get off the exit, you’ll need to quickly get over to your right (look for oncoming traffic)
4: Turn RIGHT onto TRUMBULL ST. 0.1 miles Map
5: Turn RIGHT onto PUTNAM ST. 0.2 miles Map
6: Turn RIGHT onto 12TH ST / ROSA PARKS BLVD. <0.1 miles Map
7: End at 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208-1773,
Total Est. Time: 42 minutes Total Est. Distance: 40.61 miles
can we improve the campus climate at U of M?
for a community forum
featuring U of M students
as we work together
to continue building a safe, diverse space for everyone
your ideas and thoughts to share!!!
January 31, 2007
Angell Hall Auditorium D