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Reaction Is Swift To Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision

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The Union Building on the campus of University of Michigan. (WWJ/Stephanie Davis)

The Union Building on the campus of University of Michigan. (WWJ/Stephanie Davis)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Malcolm Jones is an African-American high school senior who was recently accepted into the University of Michigan. He believes affirmative action should not be race-based, but a socioeconomic standard.

“You can’t create a great college without true diversity, and with people who have come from all these different walks of life. It’s extremely important,” said Jones. “The fact that we even have to think of making it a rule to try to get these colleges to do that, I think it’s ridiculous. It should be in the best interest of the college itself.”

Jones will be a business major at U of M.

“I would rather have a situation in which the affirmative action is more focused on socioeconomic status than me getting in just because of my race. If I had applied next year and I did get rejected from Michigan but other people who had more merit than me got in, not because of the color of their skin but because of what they have done? I would be fine with that,” he said.

Supreme Court Justices ruled 6-2 that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution in 2006 to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions.

The woman who successfully sued the University of Michigan over racial preferences says the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a state ban on using race in university admissions is a “great victory” for voters and the state.

Jennifer Gratz says the ruling is good news for university applicants who will know they’re being accepted or rejected based on merit.

“Everyone who applies to the University of Michigan will now know that they have been accepted or rejected on their own merits and that their skin color or their gender did not help or hurt them,” said Gratz.

The justices ruled 6-2 that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution in 2006 to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions.

The Supreme Court did not do away with ALL preferences for student admission at the University of Michigan. That, according to U-of-M Law Professor Mark Rosenbaum, who says public universities can still give priority to athletes, artists, and children of donors and alumni. And he doesn’t think it’s right to ban race as a factor in college admissions.

“If you claim that you have a racial identity, you are not allowed to make the case that that can contribute to a serious educationally beneficial student enrollment and everybody knows that’s not true,” said Rosenmbaum.”Everyone knows that race still matters in America and it matters in Michigan.”

Rosenbaum argued in support of affirmative action before the Supreme Court, and says he’s “profoundly disappointed” in the court’s decision. Our Stephanie Davis is gathering reaction on the University of Michigan campus this afternoon. Stay here for live coverage.

Earlier, A local attorney called it a terrible, racist ruling that he will fight.

George Washington — who represents BAMN or “By Any Means Necessary” — threatening to take aim at the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Michigan’s ban on using race as a factor in college admissions.

“We’re going to have to take the gloves off,” Washington told WWJ Newsradio 950, shortly after the justices’ ruling was announced on Tuesday. “This Supreme Court is systematically setting about undoing the gains of the Civil Rights Movement, so we’re gonna have to return to the methods of sit-ins and protests, and strikes and the things which won it in the first place.”

“We’re also going to have to demand that the University of Michigan and others schools get rid of their standardized tests,” he added.

Washington claims that those tests give preference to those who are white, rich, and went to better schools.

He said Jennifer Gratz’s belief that admissions will now be fair without affirmative action isn’t accurate.

 

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