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STATEMENT: Supreme Court Fails Michigan’s Students of Color

STATEMENT: Supreme Court Fails Michigan’s Students of Color

April 25, 2014

Contact: Linda Meric, National Executive Director,
(303) 628-0925 x15 or lindam@9to5.org

Schuette Decision Creates Separate and Unequal Admission Policies in Michigan

DENVER, APRIL 25, 2014 — “The Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s Proposal 2 by a 6-2 vote this week. Proposal 2, passed in 2006, codified discrimination by creating two separate and unequal systems for determining admission criteria at colleges and universities. It specifically barred students from lobbying universities to consider race as one of many factors in admissions.

While the decision has no impact on race-conscious policies at universities in other states, and the court has continually upheld the constitutionality of race-conscious policies, this decision does lay the framework for other states to pursue similar bans.

In her forceful dissent, Justice Sotomayor wrote, “Another fundamental strand of our equal protection jurisprudence focuses on process, securing to all citizens the right to participate meaningfully and equally in-self government. That right is the bedrock of our democracy, for it preserves all other rights.”

Proposal 2 unfairly prohibits students from asking universities to consider race as one factor in admissions, but allows consideration of other factors like legacy status and athletic achievement. Race-conscious policies, supported by 9to5, are designed to level the playing field for qualified individuals who have been denied access to opportunity. Proposal 2 not only prevents this but created two entirely separate fields.

We all benefit when we all have a fair shot at the American Dream. The Supreme Court’s decision in the Schuette case takes us in the wrong direction. There has been a notable decline in minority enrollment since Proposal 2 took effect. African-American enrollment plummeted 33 percent at the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor between 2006 and 2012, even as overall enrollment grew by 10 percent. We are proud that 9to5 Colorado co-led a successful 2008 campaign in which voters defeated a similar ban on equal opportunity, but we are disappointed that the Supreme Court upheld such a clearly biased referendum in Michigan.”

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About 9to5: With forty-one years’ experience in winning justice for working women, 9to5 leads the way to create a powerful force for change on issues affecting low-wage women and their families. www.9to5.org