Affirmative Action Foes Seek Mich. Referendum
Initiative Would Amend State’s Constitution
Robert E. Pierre, Wash. Post, Mar. 5
DETROIT — Only months after a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding affirmative action in higher education stemming from cases at the University of Michigan, this state has again become an epicenter in the fight over racial preferences.
Opponents of affirmative action have launched a bid to amend Michigan’s constitution to strip racial preferences from state university admissions, state hiring and contracting.
They sought the assistance of Ward Connerly, a regent of the state university system in California who has gained national prominence for his efforts to end affirmative action there and in other states. And they have attracted back to Michigan a plaintiff in the challenges to the University of Michigan’s admissions system, Jennifer Gratz, to lead the constitutional campaign. The campaigners are trying to gather 317,757 signatures by July 6 to get the proposed ban on November’s ballot.
“I absolutely believe that treating people differently because of skin color is wrong,” Gratz said. “We’ve had an overwhelming response. We’re answering hundreds of e-mails, and we’ve had thousands of phone calls.”
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