Student of Color Enrollment Down at GVSU

Student of color enrollment at GVSU is down 30% in the first class admitted under the requirements of the anti-affirmative action Proposal 2.

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The Grand Rapids Press published an article today that cites recent numbers from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to show that freshman enrollment by students of color is down by 30%. The article cites various officials at GVSU–West Michigan’s largest four-year college–who charge that the decline is due to the 2006 passage of the anti-affirmative action ballot proposal known as Proposal 2. Under Proposal 2–which bans the used of racial preferences in admissions–GVSU had to eliminate its Bret Price Awards scholarships that gave four-year full-tuition scholarships to students of color who met strict academic requirements. According to the article, this year recruiters are able to offer only $3,000 a year to students coming from certain urban schools and are unable to directly target students of color for recruitment.

Constitutionality of Proposal 2 Upheld

On Tuesday, a federal court judge upheld the constitutionality of Proposal 2. Proposal 2 was the 2006 ballot initiative in Michigan that banned affirmative action policies based on race and gender. The judge in the case, David Lawson, said that Proposal 2 does not violate the 14th amendment as its opponents have charged. He also expressed concern about overturning a measure that passed with the support of 58% of voters.

By Any Means Necessary, one of the plaintiffs in the case, is filing an appeal and vowing to fight all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Ward Connerly Speaks on Proposal 2 in Deposition

In a deposition taken as part of a lawsuit aimed at overturning the anti-affirmative action Proposal 2, Ward Connerly–the primary financial backer of the ballot initiative–admits that he knew that the proposal would likely result in less students of color in Michigan universities.

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By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), a pro-affirmative action group that has organized protests and filed lawsuits around the country seeking to defend affirmative action from rightwing efforts to eliminate, has released a transcript and video of an October 2007 deposition of Ward Connerly. Connerly, who has been the primary backer of the anti-affirmative action Proposition 209 in California and Proposal 2 (the Michigan Civil Rights Initative) in Michigan, was deposed as part of a lawsuit filed by BAMN to overturn Proposal 2 in Michigan.

The 76-page deposition is worth reading, as Connerly makes it clear that he knew the consequences of Proposal 2’s passage–a decline in enrollment at state universities in Michigan by people of color–based on the consequences of Proposition 209 in California. Similarly, Connerly says that he was aware that Proposition 209 would have this effect. Beyond that, the Connerly’s comments are consistent with what he has said in the past downplaying the historical legacy of discrimination, downplaying the existence of racism, and claiming that African-Americans are not working hard enough to compete with white students.

However, it is his comments of the potential impacts on Michigan and how the campaign for Proposal 2 was organized that are probably the most interesting to our readers. As such, we have excerpted the majority of his comments here.

Connerly speaks about how Proposal 2 in Michigan would have the same effect of eliminating many affirmative action programs in the state:

Q: …so when you came to Michigan to bring the proposal to, you knew the same result would occur in Michigan, did you not?

A. I did.

Q. And you knew that in Michigan the Supreme Court had found that the policy being used by the University of Michigan in Grutter was legal at a federal level; isn’t that true?

A. For those who wanted to use it.

Q. And if you got a state ban, you knew that even those who wanted to use it wouldn’t be able to use it, didn’t you?

A. I knew that, but I also knew that the only way we’re going to close this academic gap between black and Latino on the one hand and Asian and white on the other, is not to keep papering over it with preferences, but to apply the tough love that’s necessary to get black and Latino students up to the bar. That was a value judgment then, it’s a value judgment now.

Q. Mr. Connerly, there was no question in your mind when you brought Proposal 2 that the University of Michigan would be virtually resegregated as the University of California Berkeley and UCLA have; is that not true?

A. I did not bring Proposal 2. I supported Proposal 2, but I did not bring Proposal 2, that’s a mischaracterization of the facts.

Q. When you supported Proposal 2; is that correct?

A. That’s correct.

Q. That was the outcome you wanted; is that correct?

A. No, that wasn’t the outcome I wanted. I wanted to be sure we could get black students and Latino-American students that were not performing well academically on a path to performance. I believe we will not do that as long as we perform the remedies that you obviously support and that is preferences. That does not solve the problem. They patch up the problem, Ms. Driver, they don’t solve the problem.

Connerly talks about his role in supporting Proposal 2 and the role that Michigan’s demographics had in impacting the vote and the decision:

Q: Did you believe when Proposal 2 was proposed in Michigan, you knew that the vast majority of voters in the state of Michigan were white; is that true?

A. As they are in most states.

Q. And, in fact, previously when you went into the

state of Washington you said that you in part went into the

state of Washington because the majority of voters were white?

A. That — when Ms. Foster, Heath Foster said that,

that is not something that I said.

Q. Okay.

A. That is not something that I said. I was invited to the state of Washington. I went there. We did not select — I did not select the state of Washington because it was white. That was not an accurate attribution on her part.

Q. Okay. And you selected the state of Michigan because the University of Michigan had succeeded at the Supreme Court in Grutter; is that correct?

A. I was invited to the state of Michigan and I went there with the expressed purpose of availing ourselves of that opportunity that the court allowed of its decision of Grutter and Gratz.

Q. And you knew the majority of voters were white?

A. How could one not know if one studies the facts?

Q. You knew that in California overwhelmingly white people had voted for proposal 209 and overwhelmingly black people and other minorities voted against it; is that correct?

A. Sure, I knew that.

Q. And you knew that had been the case in the state of Washington as well; is that not correct?

A. I knew the demographics.

Q. And you knew that in Michigan, because it was 83 percent white that if there was the same outcome and there was an overwhelming vote by white people for it and an overwhelming vote of black people against it, the proposal would still pass?

A. It would be reasonable to conclude that.

Q. And you went into Michigan knowing, therefore, that you were putting white people in the position of banning the only programs that the University of Michigan had said, the one program the University of Michigan said it needed to maintain an integrated and diverse student body; is that correct?

MR. FOUTZ: Objection. Lacks foundation. Assumes facts not in evidence, also calls for speculation.

THE WITNESS: I have this abiding faith that black people can also be convinced that treating anyone differently because of race and skin color is wrong.

MS. DRIVER: Q. It’s a little different —

A. I had that faith then, I have it now.

Q. It’s a little bit of a different question what I’m asking. I’m not asking about —

A. I know, but it’s a loaded question that you’re

framing on your terms.

Q. Okay.

A. I want you to understand my answer.

Q. I understand your answer. Let me go back to my question. You knew when you went into Michigan that you were putting white people in the position of being able to eliminate what the University of Michigan had argued in the Grutter case at the U.S. Supreme Court it had to have to maintain an integrated and diverse student body?

MR. FOUTZ: Same objections.

THE WITNESS: I knew that the people of Michigan, the people of Michigan, who include Arabs, who include, quote, whites, many of whom are Arab, who included blacks, Latinos, that the people of Michigan would vote, not that I would be putting whites in the position, as you characterize it, of eliminating this one precious program.

Q. But white people were 83 percent of the elected?

A. I don’t see it, maybe you do. I don’t see them as white people who are going to the polls to vote. They are people of Michigan going to the polls to vote. BAMN and others, I would add, did more to call attention to race and the race of voters than we ever did.

Q. Mr. Connerly, when you were a part of the leadership of the campaign —

A. I was not a part of the leadership of the campaign.

Q. So I don’t misspeak again —

A. Okay.

Q. How would you characterize your role in securing the passage of Proposal 2 in Michigan?

A. Helped to raise most of the money that financed the campaign, probably 90 percent of the funds that were raised I in one way or another helped to raise by calling people and urging them to support it. I was there whenever they needed me and asked for advice on how do we deal with this idiotic issue about the Ku Klux Klan that you in a sleazy fashion raise and being there, being available as they needed my counsel.

Q. And you knew that in the campaign to get Proposal 2 on the ballot that black signature gatherers were paid to lie to voters —

A. Wrong.

Q. About —

A. That’s your characterization, that is wrong.

Q. You knew there was a report by the civil rights commission targeting voter fraud; isn’t that true?

A. I’m aware of that. I also knew it was wrong, that we were not involved in any kind of targeted voter fraud.

Q. And you knew that there was a decision by a federal court judge, Judge Tarnow, that found that Jennifer Gratz and others involved in the campaign clearly either knew or were disingenuous in their presentation of the ways in which black signature gatherers were lying to people to get signatures?

MR. FOUTZ: Objection. Lacks foundation. Assumes facts not in evidence.

THE WITNESS: I did not believe then and I do not believe now that there was any voter fraud in the Michigan campaign. There was a disagreement about the use of the term affirmative action. They were saying, many of these signature gatherers, that affirmative action could be maintained as I understand it in the aftermath of the election about Proposal 2, that is true. It can be maintained. Socioeconomic affirmative action, race-neutral outreach could be maintained. There was a charge that the term civil rights was being misappropriated.

Q. Mr. Connerly, you, yourself said affirmative action is race preference s in at least one if not more interviews; isn’t that true?

A. I said in several interviews that affirmative action has become coterminous with race preferences the way it’s being used.

Q. When people are saying the term “affirmative action” they mean what you would call race preferences; isn’t that true?

A. I can’t say what all people mean.

Q. But that’s what you meant; isn’t that true?

A. When I used the term, and if you’ll look, I went to great pains to say this campaign will not end all affirmative action. I said that ad nauseam.

Q. But you knew that the average voter would think exactly what you thought, that the term affirmative action and the term race preference are one; isn’t that true?

A. That is precisely why I went to such great efforts to say that this will not end all affirmative action.

Q. And so you knew when those petition gatherers were going around and saying these programs are for affirmative action, they were lying, weren’t they?

A. Ms. Driver —

MR. FOUTZ: Objection. Objection. Lacks foundation. Assumes facts that are not in evidence. We’ll go with those for now.

THE WITNESS: I had not one idea of what the signature gatherers were saying to people, not a clue. I wasn’t involved in that phase of the effort.

MS. DRIVER: Q. But if they were saying that your ballot measure that Prop 2 was for affirmative action, you would say that that was a lie; isn’t that true?

A. No, I would not. I would say, yeah, make sure you’re careful in how you characterize this because there are certain forms of affirmative action that will be preserved. It’s for a certain kind. It is not for certain other kinds.

Q. And you knew when those signature gatherers were saying this would help black students get into college, that they were lying, didn’t you?

A. I —

MR. FOUTZ: Objection. Lacks foundation. Assumes facts not in evidence. Calls for hearsay and speculation.

THE WITNESS: I don’t know what they said to people. I wasn’t there.

MS. DRIVER: Q. But you knew it would not help black students, in any event, it was not going to help black students get into the University of Michigan to eliminate affirmative action.

A. We didn’t eliminate affirmative action.

Q. Eliminating affirmative action programs that took race into account as a factor in the admissions process, which was the University of Michigan’s system, you knew that eliminating that, which is what this law was conceived of to do, was going to lower, not increase, the number of black students that were admitted at the University of Michigan; isn’t that true?

A. I also thought, however, that in the fullness of time it would help.

Q. How long?

A. To change.

Q. How long did you think?

A. I don’t know, maybe ten years.

Connerly admits that the passage of Proposal 2 has made it difficult for the University of Michigan to maintain a diverse student body:

Q: To have them there, to have black students at the University of Michigan, you now know is extremely — it has been made much more difficult by the passage of Prop 2, hasn’t it?

A. Until we cure — until we and they correct that academic gap, yes, it is more difficult.

Q. So they won’t be there to give that perspective —

A. They are there. They may not be there in the numbers that you would like, but they are there.

Q. They’re there in too small numbers, aren’t they?

A. Is that really a question or what? I don’t know if it’s a small number.

Q. It is a question.

A. When they earn the right to be there, and I don’t care what the standard is, make sure it’s the same standard for everybody.

Q. This isn’t a color-blind society, is it, Mr. Connerly?

A. I’m not trying to make it a color-blind society, I just want our government to be color-blind.

Connerly also responds again to the role of the Ku Klux Klan in campaigning for the passage of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and his controversial comments that praised the Ku Klux Klan:

Q. Okay. Because you’re saying — let me ask a different question. When the white people in the south in the Brown era defended segregation by saying it’s just the way things are, people choose to live together, white people choose to live together and we don’t have any problem with it and all of that, they were defending segregation, correct?

A. Correct.

Q. And when Trent Lott was praising Strom Thurmon, he was asserting that being for segregation, and you say this about him, didn’t necessarily mean that he was a racist, even though the segregation that Strom Thurmon supported included white people making arguments that it was just free association?

A. Let me share with you an experience that I’ve had, which has helped to shape my tolerance, if you will, on this issue.

My wife is of a different, quote, race than I am. When we married in 1962, my in-laws objected to that marriage. They had come from Oklahoma, one from Oklahoma, one from Idaho. Their view is God had made the races differently and it was God’s will that the races remain separately, separate. Not that one was inferior to the other, it was just the way that God intended it. He made horses and sheep and human beings and they were supposed to be separate. By the time they died, these two people, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law, were the only parents that I had. To suggest that they were racist did not fit with the people that I grew to know. They grew up, Ms. Driver, at a different time, at a different place, different perspective, wrong perspective. It wasn’t that they were racist, it was just the way they had been raised. They had subsequently came to change that view and I still believe that people can change.

So I don’t rush out and say he’s bad, he’d bad, he’s a racist. Shun him. My view is, as I said in Michigan, if the Ku Klux Klan has changed their view, those on your side can portray me as a guy who is supporting the Ku Klux Klan, no, not at all. They’re a hateful group. What I’m saying is if they’ve changed, God bless them. We want them to change. We should work every day of our lives to change them.

Q. Nothing changed about their position, Mr. Connerly. They knew that the passage of this proposal would mean the exclusion of black students from the University of Michigan and they supported that outcome?

A. I’m not supporting the Ku Klux Klan, I don’t know about the Klan, you probably know more about them than I do because you’ve done the research. I have nothing to do with them. They are not part of our campaign. I’m explaining to you about my issue about this issue of segregation and there are people who believe in it who may not necessarily believe that blacks are inferior, just that blacks or any other group for that matter ought to be separated from others because that’s the way God intended it. Flawed, very wrong, inherently a wrong philosophy.

Trial Sought in Proposal 2 Case

Last Monday, the group By Any Means Necessary–which was active in the fight against Proposal 2 in Michigan–submitted a brief to US District Judge David Lawson explaining that a trial is needed to determine whether or not affirmative action is a system of “preferences” or an effective means of desegregation. Proposal 2 was an anti-affirmative action ballot proposal known as the “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative” that was passed by voters in 2006.

In a summary of the case, BAMN said that their argument centers around four factual points:

“(1) whether affirmative action programs are the only means for keeping the universities desegregated, (2) whether the universities’ admission criteria without affirmative action are irremediably discriminatory against black, Latina/o, and Native American students, (3) whether Proposal 2 was an intentional attempt to exclude minorities from the state’s universities, and (4) whether Proposal 2 has relegated racial minorities to a Jim Crow procedure for securing relief from the discrimination that they otherwise will face in university admissions.”

Interestingly, in a deposition filed in the case, Proposal 2’s backer–Ward Connerly–admitted that he knew the likely consequences of banning affirmative action:

“In the deposition taken by BAMN on October 24, 2007, Connerly said that he knew before proposing Proposal 209 in California that the California K-12 educational system was highly unequal and that this contributed to the lower adjusted grade point averages of black, Latina/o and Native American applicants to the University of California. He admitted that white students are given an advantage when test scores are used in an admissions system that does not consider race. Connerly also admitted that he knew beforehand that Proposal 2 would drive down the number of minority students at selective schools–and that there was nothing the admissions officers could do to stop it. Moreover, he admitted, that was the result he wanted–in order to administer what he called “tough love” to minority students.”

BAMN is arguing that Connerly’s admissions make it clear that Proposal 2 was “an intentional effort to drive underrepresented minorities out of the University of Michigan and the state’s graduate and professional schools.” BAMN is asserting that Proposal 2 is illegal on various grounds, including the Fourteenth Amendment because it:

“…prevents a white majority from (1) passing laws that intentionally exclude racial minorities from education, or (2) imposing more onerous political burdens on racial minorities when they attempt to win passage of programs that they hope will eliminate or lessen the problems caused by racial discrimination.”

Oral arguments will be heard in the case on February 6 in the Federal District Court in Detroit.

Anti-Affirmative Action Legal Group Threatens Litigation against GRPS

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm based in Sacramento, California, wrote a letter to the City of Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) earlier this month asserting that the City and the Schools are in violation of Michigan’s Proposal 2. The letter states that because the City and the Schools give preference to “disadvantaged” business enterprises and because they use race and sex to determine whether a business is “disadvantaged,” the two entities are in violation of the anti-affirmative action Proposal 2.

The letter cites a recent legal opinion by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox that determined the City of Grand Rapids was in violation of Proposal 2 and argues that this opinion, while specific to the City’s practices, is equally applicable to the Grand Rapids Public Schools’ program. The Pacific Legal Foundation threatened legal action, arguing that “the practice must stop or the City and the school district will be exposing themselves to potential litigation, with significant possible financial liability for taxpayers.” According to the Grand Rapids Press, the Grand Rapids Public Schools have suspended their program in light of Attorney General Mike Cox’s opinion.

The Pacific Legal Foundation is part of a network of rightwing legal organizations that have campaigned against affirmative action in recent years. According to its own website, the Pacific Legal Foundation has taken a leading role in defending California’s anti-affirmative Proposition 209. In addition, the Pacific Legal Foundation has been active in the fight to re-segregate public schools in the United States, repeatedly challenging policies that promote integration and racial diversity. Among the cases that the organization has been active in is a recent challenge to the historic Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling.

The Pacific Legal Foundation was founded in 1973 and has used the courts to advance a rightwing agenda, taking on cases attacking affirmative action, attacking environmental protections, and advancing the interests of businesses. It has been partially funded by conservative foundations and has received money from corporations, including $110,000 from Exxon Mobil since 1998. The Foundation has received funding from many of the same foundations that have funded Ward Connerly and his anti-affirmative action campaigns around the country.

This is not the first time that rightwing organizations have stepped in to support Proposal 2. Shortly after the passage of Proposal 2, the Center for Individual Rights intervened to overturn an injunction delaying implementation. During the campaign for Proposal 2, the racist Council of Conservative Citizens and the Ku Klux Klan were among the few groups publicly endorsing Proposal 2.

Grand Rapids City Program Violates Proposal 2

On Monday, Michigan Attorney General Michael Cox issued an opinion claiming that the City of Grand Rapids’ recently adopted policy granting construction bid discounts to people of color-owned and women-owned businesses is a violation of Proposal 2. Cox asserts that the program, which the City based on federal and state “disadvantaged business enterprise” designations, is unacceptable and must be changed.

The program gave discounts to companies whose subcontractors are socially or economically disadvantaged due to their size, lack of credit opportunities, or social standing in the community. Cox charges that the city’s policy gives preferential treatment to people of color and women because it has the “presumption that they are socially disadvantaged, while all other socially and economically disadvantaged persons must bear the burden of proving their status by a preponderance of the evidence.” According to reporting in the Grand Rapids Press, City Manager Kurt Kimball says that the city will abide by Cox’s opinion and will alter the program. In the opinion, Cox stated that the program could continue as long as language is amended to “preclude reliance on race and sex.”

The opinion was the first issued by Attorney General Cox on compliance with the anti-affirmative action Proposal 2 since it was passed by Michigan voters in November of 2006. It was issued in response to an inquiry by state Representative Fulton Sheen of Plainwell, who asked the Attorney General to examine whether or not Grand Rapids’ policy granted “preferential treatment” on the basis of race and gender.

MSU Group Declared a “Hate Group”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has announced that it will add the Michigan State University chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) to its list of “hate groups” in Michigan. The list, which includes racist groups such as the National Socialist Movement, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Council of Conservative Citizens, will include the MSU-based Young Americans for Freedom because of their “white supremacist” actions according to the Lansing State Journal when it is updated in April. In the Lansing State Journal, Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center states that it was the Young Americans for Freedom’s proposals to defund minority student organizations and to create a white student council that got the group added to the list. Beirich is quoted stating that YAF fits the characterization of a “hate group” because it has “…an ideology that denigrates an entire class of people for their inherent traits.”

The MSU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom has a history of organizing a variety of protests against “liberals,” Democratic Party politicians, radicals, and against abortion. Last year, they gained national attention for staging a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” day on MSU’s campus as well as for bringing the anti-immigrant politician Tom Tancredo to MSU’s campus. In addition, the group has made a variety of anti-gay statements and protestied Lansing’s human rights ordinance while holding signs that read “Straight Power” and “End Faggotry” according to the Lansing State Journal. In an interview, the group’s leader Kyle Bristow asserts “the average life-span of a homosexual male is 45 years old” and that “homosexuality kills people almost to a degree worse than cigarettes.” Similar extremist rhetoric has been used when the group has opposed abortion, with Bristow arguing that abortion increases the chance of women getting breast cancer.

Young Americans for Freedom was formed in 1960 and was most active in the 1960s, both countering radical protests and in supporting presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964. However, in the decades since the 1960s, the organization has retained a presence on many college campuses and has advocated a form of conservativism further to the right of the Republican Party while its influence has declined. Chapters around the country have advocated for strict laws targeting undocumented immigration, campaigned against affirmative action, protested leftwing speakers, and campaigned against equal rights laws protecting LGBT people. The organization has worked with the Leadership Institute and the Young America’s Foundation in recent years to build up chapters around the country.

Federal Court Overturns Injunction Delaying Proposal 2

A federal appeals court lifted an injunction yesterday that had delayed the implementation of Proposal 2 at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Michigan State University. A three judge panel on the United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal law does not warrant providing an extension “in the absence of any likelihood of prevailing in invalidating this state initiative on federal grounds.” The delay until July 1, 2007–sought by the universities to complete the current admissions cycle–was supported by Governor Jennifer Granholm and Attorney General Mike Cox. Cox was one of the only politicians in the 2006 election to openly support the passage of Proposal 2. The group By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), who has another lawsuit seeking to overturn Proposal 2, is considering appealing Friday’s ruling to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in light of the fact that the ruling was based exclusively on written briefs without oral testimony.

The injunction was overturned as a result of a lawsuit filed by a conservative legal firm called the Center for Individual Rights on behalf of Eric Russell, a University of Michigan applicant. The Center for Individual Rights has a long history of working to eliminate the gains of the Civil Rights movement by attacking various affirmative action programs in the courts. This effort began with a 1992 challenge to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy that sought to balance gender in radio, defending California’s anti-affirmative action Proposition 209 in the mid-1990s, and initiating in 1998 challenging the use of race in admissions at the University of Michigan in two cases–Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger–that would eventually go to the Supreme Court. The organization, founded to provided a conservative counterpoint to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has intervened in a number of other cases and has worked to prevent college campuses from barring military recruiters, has defended professors accused of sexual harassment in light of “overly expansive harassment regulations,” has filed lawsuits designed to challenge “political correctness” on college campuses, and has defended a CUNY professor who argued that African-Americans are less intelligent and less law-abiding than other races. The organization receives most of its funding from conservative and libertarian foundations and in the past received funding from the Pioneer Fund an organization that has heavily funded “research” aiming to show the alleged genetic inferiority of African-Americans.

GVSU Alters Scholarship to Comply with Proposal 2

According to an article published Thursday in the Grand Rapids Press, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is altering one of its largest scholarships to comply with the anti-affirmative action Proposal 2 that passed last month. The scholarship, known as the Bert Price scholarship, will no longer be able make race “a key consideration” in determining who receives the scholarship. Instead, the university is considering new rules including financial need and whether or not an applicant is a first-generation college student. GVSU–who funds the Bert Price scholarship–awarded $5.7 million from the scholarship fund to 825 students of color this year. Other donor and federal-funded scholarships will not be affected because they do not come out of the university budget. However, changes in the Bert Price scholarship may affect diversity on the campus where only twelve percent of the student body are students of color.

The article also mentions that a review of thirty race and gender-based scholarships at Grand Rapids Community College are unlikely to be affected since they are donor-funded.

Delay Granted in Proposal 2 Legal Case; Connerly Plans Campaign in other States

On Monday, a delay in the implementation of Proposal 2 was granted to three universities who filed a legal motion earlier this month requesting that they be exempted from having to comply with Proposal 2 by its December 22 implementation date. The delay will allow colleges and universities in Michigan to complete their Fall 2007 admissions processes under their pre-Proposal 2 policies. At the same time, Michigan cities are also working to understand how Proposal 2 will change their operations, with Grand Rapids discussing changes in contracting policies on Tuesday. A policy in place at the City of Grand Rapids that required contractors whose services cost more than $10,000 to have an affirmative action policy will be dropped because it is now unconstitutional. Equal Opportunity Director Ingrid Scott-Weekly says that “the reality is women and minority contractors will probably lose ground” due to Proposal 2. The City of Lansing has filed a lawsuit asking to be granted an extension on complying with Proposal 2, arguing that it cannot complete an audit measuring compliance with Proposal 2 and changing policy by the December 22 deadline. In related legal news, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the NAACP have filed a lawsuit seeking a “declaratory ruling” from the United States District Court in Detroit stating that “Proposal 2 does not ban programs that use race or gender as part of the decision-making process in any manner whatsoever” based on the Supreme Court’s 2003 view that it is constitutionally permissible for universities to consider race and gender as one of many admissions factors.

As universities and cities in Michigan alter policies to comply with Proposal 2, Proposal 2’s out of state backer, Ward Connerly, announced that his campaign is exploring the possibility of pursuing bans in nine additional states. Connerly is scheduled to visit Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah to evaluate prospects for ballot initiatives banning affirmative action in those states. In a press conference last week, Connerly explained that he intends to pursue a state-by-state strategy for banning affirmative action nationally. Like in Michigan, Washington, and California where proposals to ban affirmative action have been passed, Connerly will target a portion of the twenty other states that allow petitions for ballot proposals to be placed directly before voters and is looking at the possibility of placing anti-affirmative action measures on the ballot in multiple states for the November 2008 election. It was also announced last week that Jennifer Gratz, the woman who claimed that she was denied admission to the University of Michigan because of affirmative action policies and later ran the fraud-laden Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) campaign, will join Ward Connerly’s American Civil Rights Institute and will organize against affirmative action full time.