09 Jan 2007 Black Activists Applaud Court’s Support for Race-Neutral Admissions
In the wake of an appeals court decision ordering resistant Michigan universities to immediately implement the race-neutral admission standards overwhelmingly approved by voters, members of the black leadership network Project 21 demand an end to obstructionist legal challenges of the popular new law.
“These public and taxpayer-funded universities should immediately act within the framework of Proposal 2 to put an end to preferential treatment,” said Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli.
In November, 58 percent of Michigan voters approved the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative – officially called Proposal 2 – to amend the state constitution to prohibit race and gender preferences in government hiring, contracting and university admissions. At the request of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University, U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson gave those schools a six-month exemption from the enforcement of Proposal 2 – which went into effect on December 23 – due to perceived “difficulties, inequities and unfairness” of the rules changing during the admissions process for the new school year. On appeal, Judge Lawson’s ruling was overturned last week by a three-judge panel of the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Opponents of Proposal 2 say they plan to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Project 21’s Borelli added: “Admission standards should be based on objective evaluation and qualifications. Since admission qualifications are competitive, a university environment can reinforce to students that hard work and perseverance are the essential standards for success in admission, retention and graduation. Individuals should understand that opportunities are earned and they should not expect special treatment based on non-essential standards such as race, gender and ethnicity.”
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.