MCRI: Let The Fallout Begin!

[Last updated: 1:32 PM]

InsideHigherEd spends most of its report of MCRI’s victory reprising the arguments of its critics. It doesn’t seem to recognize how hollow the BAMN argument — most people didn’t understand the petitions they signed — sounds in light of support of 58% of the voters.

The Associated Press reports:

Michigan voters have decided that race and gender should not be factors in deciding who gets into public universities or who gets hired for government work.

At the University of Michigan, the Michigan Daily reports, “[m]ore than three-quarters of votes at campus precincts were against the proposal….”

Another article in the Michigan Daily promises continued resistance:

… Some changes are certain: The University will revamp its admissions process, tweak some programs and probably eliminate others. But Proposal 2 hasn’t put an end to the affirmative action debate – it’s begun a chain of court battles to sort out what “preferential treatment” actually means. If the deluge of lawsuits filed in California after a similar initiative passed in 1996 is any indication, the debate in the courts could go on for years.

… Some may be willing to accept Proposal 2’s passage as the end of affirmative action, but we have a feeling the University won’t give up that easily. If there is one university that can find a way to achieve diversity after a setback as dire as this one, it’s the University of Michigan.

Whitney Dibo, associate editorial page editor of the Michigan Daily, had some observations that were somewhat unusual coming from opponents of MCRI:

The University’s brochures and website may depict students of all colors studying on the Diag together….

Yet despite the administration’s commitment to diversity, this campus remains starkly segregated. The united front against Proposal 2 temporarily masked this division, but sadly it remains a sad reality of our University.

We live in different student neighborhoods. We go to different bars on different nights. We join different student groups. There are even separate Greek systems. While there are exceptions to every trend, for the most part integration at the University ends in the classroom.

And here, also from the Michigan Daily, is a classic misunderstanding — a topsy turvy turning normal procedures upside down — of how democratic politics is supposed to work:

… Many of the same people who fought the University in 2003 [with the Gratz and Grutter litigation] are now backers of Proposal 2. What they could not accomplish through the courts in 2003, Jennifer Gratz and company won yesterday in the ballot box.

Note the disdain with which actual voters setting social policy at the ballot box is viewed. In this In this warped view, courts are the venue of choice to set social policy. When they fail, alas, the people get to decide for themselves.

Amazingly (or not), the leading opponent of racial equality in Michigan, continues to charge fraud!

Leaders at One United Michigan, the major opposition group, conceded early this morning.

“Sadly it appears that voters have been deceived by a fraudulent campaign … that serves to divide Michigan and ignores the culture of inequity that divides our state and country,” said Dave Waymire, spokesman for the group that had backers of 200 major Michigan organizations.

So, a proposal to end racial discrimination that commands support of just under 60% of Michigan voters is “divisive,” while elite support of preferential of some people based on their race, sex, or ethnicity that just over 40% of the voters support is unifying? No wonder those guys lost.

In the same fraud-driven vein,

Lawyers for BAMN, who alleged in the courts and before state election officials that the campaign on behalf of Proposal 2 used fraudulent tactics in soliciting petition signatures to qualify it for the ballot, have vowed to go back to court to try to have the vote nullified and the enforcement of the measure blocked.

University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement vowing that “[r]egardless of what happens with Proposal 2, the University of Michigan will remain fully and completely committed to diversity.”

As David Bernstein has pointed out,

One thing obviously missing from President Coleman’s statement is a commitment to obey the law. Hopefully, she will make it clear that future diversity efforts will be pursued in accordance with Michigan law.

Another missing thing: if the University of Michigan will be able to “remain fully and completely committed to diversity” despite the passage of MCRI, what was the point of fighting it so vehemently?

A statement distributed today by University of Michigan Law School Dean Evan Carminker (helpfully provided, here, by a commenter at the Volokh Conspiracy) was also a bit short of following the new constitutional mandate but long on the school’s devotion to “diversity” being undisturbed. An excerpt:

Proposal 2 will likely require the Law School to modify some of its specific admissions policies and practices, and options will be considered carefully over the next few weeks and beyond. But Michigan Law remains committed to its longstanding goal of admitting and matriculating an absolutely outstanding student body that is brilliant, energetic, multi-talented, and diverse along a wide variety of dimensions, including race. And while what we might do is as yet undetermined, I’m confident that how we respond will follow the proud and equally longstanding tradition at this Law School of addressing important and potentially controversial issues in a civil and collegial manner.

Only likely require? The UM law school gives preferences based on race. MCRI has amended the Michigan constitution to ban preferences based on race.

Both President Coleman and Dean Carminker strongly imply that Michigan will develop new methods to preserve racial “diversity” without, presumably, running afoul of the new constitutional ban on racial preferences. But wait a minute. Grutter already required schools to do that! “Narrow tailoring,” Justice O’Connor wrote for the Court, requires

serious, good faith consideration of workable race-neutral alternatives that will achieve the diversity the university seeks.

If President Coleman and Dean Carminker succeed now in finding such alternatives, they obviously didn’t look very hard, or exercise the required “good faith consideration,” before being forced to do so by the citizens of Michigan.

And here is a weird take from DiversityInc, a professional pro-preferences site:

Michigan voted to ban affirmative action, 58 percent to 42 percent, with the majority of votes coming from white male conservatives, based on exit polls. Both men and women of color strongly opposed the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), but lacking representation in the electorate diluted the power of their votes. Suburban and rural regions, which accounted for nearly three-quarters of the electorate, voted “yes.”

Lacking representation in the electorate?

Stay tuned; I’ll update this post as more responses are published….

Say What? (3)

  1. CaptDMO November 8, 2006 at 9:34 am | | Reply

    Good for Inside Higher Ed!

    By the way, the horse left the barn a long time ago.

    Maybe they’ve learned something!

  2. Alex Bensky November 8, 2006 at 11:20 am | | Reply

    It’s funny that the losing side claims the winners ran a fraudulent campaign. Actually, the pro-MCRI people had a staff of something like three, very little money, and almost no public presence. I saw lots of anti-MCRI ads on tv and in the papers and none from the other side. The anti-MCRI campaign was very well funded. And with all that they lost by a landslide.

    I guess it just shows how deeply-rooted racism is in Michigan since it’s racist to support equal treatment for all. And war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

  3. mj November 8, 2006 at 1:43 pm | | Reply

    “Lacking representation in the electorate?”

    Maybe some votes should be more equal than others.

Say What?