Since 2006, the University of Michigan has been conducting what it calls a “natural experiment.” race-neutral admission. According to the results of 2006, according to the state to vote that banned affirmative action at the state’s public universities, the university has radically changed its admissions procedures for the first time since then 1963 year by removing race from the admissions process. On October 31, the Supreme Court will hear the claims of Students for a fair receptionan anti-affirmative action organization that challenges the practice of racial profiling Harvard University and University of North Carolina.
In an amicus brief in support of Harvard and UNC, Univ. of Michigan argued the blind race practice has failed.
Over the past 16 years, the proportion of black students at the university has increased decreased from 7% to 4%. The percentage of Native American students dropped from 1 percent to 0.11 percent, a 90 percent drop.
A History of Affirmative Action: 1978 to the Present
In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled against racial quotas used by UC Davis School of Medicine in Board of Regents v. Bucke. These quotas limited the number of students from each racial group who could be admitted to a school. However, Justice Lewis Powell wrote that the use of race as a criterion for admission may be permissible if it is one of several criteria. The court in Bakke ruled that the use of race as “one factor among many” was constitutional 14th Amendmentwhich provides equal protection of the law to all citizens.
In 2003, the University of Michigan Law School’s programs made headlines in a Supreme Court case Grater v. Bollinger. Barbara Grutter, a white Michigan law student, sued the law school after being denied admission. The court analyzed her case using the 14th Amendment and Section VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in educational programs that receive federal funding. With the majority opinion according to former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the law school’s admissions practices were constitutional under the Bucke decision. Undergraduate admissions practices that used a “point system” that provided clear advantages to minority groups were ruled unconstitutional in Graz vs. Bollingerdecided in the same year.
University of Michigan law professor Michelle Adams said O’Connor’s opinion underscores the “compelling state interest” in accounting for race in admissions.
“Without exposure to a wider range of individuals and perspectives, those people will not be able to hold any power, and that will call into question the legitimacy of the leadership class that is being created,” Adams said. .
Michigan voters passed Proposal 2 in 2006, banning all affirmative action at the state’s public universities. In 2014, the Supreme Court is supported the constitutionality of Proposition 2 in Schuette v. Affirmative Action Coalition.
Affirmative action in today’s Supreme Court
Pending the Harvard and UNC cases, the University of Michigan filed a friend-of-the-court brief, saying it difficulty cultivating racial diversity without affirmative action.
The amicus brief cites a decline in racial diversity on campus since Michigan State’s ban on affirmative action in 2006. The brief says the university supports taking race into account in the admissions process.
“Thus, UM’s experience represents a natural experiment in race-neutral admissions that this court must consider in determining whether effective race-neutral alternatives are indeed available to Harvard, UNC, or other institutions of higher learning,” the brief states. “The UM experience underscores that a limited account of race is necessary to reap the educational benefits of racial diversity.”
Adams said the university’s attempt to increase diversity and maintain a selective admissions process has proven difficult without affirmative action.
“The natural experiment is what happens when a university is deeply committed to racial diversity but can’t use race as a factor and also wants to maintain a very competitive, very selective school,” Adams said. “And despite the arduous efforts that the university has made, the numbers of African-Americans and Native Americans have declined, and they’ve declined dramatically.”
In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Evan Kaminker, former dean of the University of Michigan Law School and current UM law professor, said it’s likely the Supreme Court will ban affirmative action in October. Kaminker said look determinedThe idea that the Court should decide cases on the basis of precedent can be overcome when judges believe that a case was wrongly decided.
“At the Supreme Court, for a long time, the momentum has generally been against affirmative action,” Kaminker said. “The case since June, which has been cancelled Roe v. Wade makes it very clear that the court’s conservative majority isn’t too worried look determined if they really believe that the case was wrongly decided. I think there are six members of the court right now who would say that affirmative action should be held to violate the constitution.”
Kaminker said the effects of a national ban on affirmative action would have little effect on Michigan because of the existing state ban. However, this ruling could have a significant impact on diversity and access to higher education across the country.
“I think it’s very troubling,” Kaminker said. “This will mean that many universities, at least at the top level, such as Harvard, will probably end up enrolling far fewer populations and minorities than they do now.”
UMich and affirmative action
Over the past 15 years, the university has implemented programs to increase diversity and inclusion on campus, such as Ways of Wolverine program, Art Go Blue Guarantee scholarship and Art Michigan College Counseling Corps. Despite these programs, the presence of minorities on campus continues the fall.
Kaminker said some potential applicants from minority groups find a university education out of reach under the current admissions environment.
“For example, there are many underrepresented minorities who mistakenly believe they can’t go to a school like Michigan, or believe they can’t afford it, or believe they don’t want to go to a school like Michigan. like Michigan because they might feel like they’re the only minority student in every one of their classes,” Kaminker said.
Kaminker said that without affirmative action, the university is less likely to make significant progress.
“These are all difficulties that Michigan has faced in trying to recruit even those students who are actually quite capable of being accepted and succeeding here, but it’s a huge effort,” Kaminker said. “So the university has put a huge effort into that, and I think that’s reflected in the fact that the numbers are a little bit better now than they were in 2006, but I don’t think they’re quite where they would be if the university could consider race.’
As the Harvard and UNC cases renew the affirmative action debate, the campus community has weighed in on admissions policies and their impact on prospective and current students.
LSA President Matthew Zhou, president of College Republic, speaking on his own behalf, said he believes it is unfair to consider race in the admissions process and that the university should instead prioritize allocating resources to address inequities at lower levels of education.
“Now, obviously, I believe in equality … you might wonder if certain races have an advantage in this process, but I think it’s more important to look at it from a lower level, like early education and even parenting resources, so that it ensures that when people get to that age … when they’re going to college or university, I think it shouldn’t matter,” Zhou said.
Kira Shaheed, director of the Trotter Multicultural Center, said regardless of access to affirmative action, the university must continue its commitment to diversity and equity in its academic and extracurricular programs.
“As the University works to be more diverse, we have to work to be more equitable, and I’m not sure that affirmative action in this policy should be the end all of how we do that,” Shahid said. . “So no matter what decision is made, our commitment to equity should inform the types of programs we have, the speakers we invite, and how we revolutionize the curriculum in the classroom.”
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