Thursday, November 09, 2006

Michigan and Affirmative Action

The people of the state of Michigan overwhelmingly passed Proposition 2 which banned affirmative action from all state agencies. Washington passed a similar measure about the time I moved there and while there was lip service shown it, in reality I saw no appreciable impact. I suspect that Michigan would most likely be the same.

What has me and little intrigued though are the comments by the President of the University of Michigan. In the Chronicle of Higher Education today it read:

Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, said she had directed the university's lawyers to give their "full and undivided support in defending diversity," and vowed to "immediately begin exploring legal action concerning this initiative."

"I will not stand by," Ms. Coleman said, "while the very heart and soul of this great university is threatened." Ms. Coleman offered assurances that, despite the measure's passage, no student would lose a scholarship, fellowship, or grant; no university employee involved with a program that promotes diversity or tends to minority affairs would lose his or her job; and Michigan would continue to reach out to high schools to draw a diverse student body.

I find it a trad interesting that the head of a state agency, which is what the university is, has publically announced that she intends to flaunt the law. I am sure that there will be a grace period while any legal challenges are at least acknowleged, but if it stands up this could be an interesting legal showdown. Or, she could be sent packing.


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