University of Michigan Affirmative Action Lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit against the University of Michigan challenges their admissions policies, equating affirmative action with racial discrimination.

0:00Copy video clip URL Title screen.

0:13Copy video clip URL Jennifer Gratz was rejected from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and believes she was subject to racial discrimination. She is part of a class action lawsuit against the university, alleging that all white students who had applied and been rejected since 1995 had been discriminated against. The University of Texas lost a similar lawsuit, both of which were filed by the Center for Individual Rights.

2:10Copy video clip URL Lee Bollinger, President of the University of Michigan, strongly defends the university’s admission policies and believes that students need to be in a racially diverse environment. Student protests throughout the 70s and 80s helped to push the university to increase diversity. The undergraduate student body at Ann Arbor is still 70% white, but minority enrollment has doubled in the last 10 years.

4:28Copy video clip URL Philosophy professor Carl Cohen says that the way the university increased its minority enrollment was wrong. He found that they were using different sets of screening criteria based on race, but Walter Harrison, vice president of university relations, say that these criteria are only one part of a larger admissions process, and that race is not even close to being the most important factor.

8:56Copy video clip URL In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that using race as a plus factor in admissions, but not the sole factor, was acceptable. The Center for Individual Rights has filed another suit against the University of Michigan’s law school, claiming that they use race as a determining factor in admissions. President Bollinger points to the drop in minority enrollment in California and Texas after affirmative action was removed as proof that race needs to be a factor in the admissions process.

11:03Copy video clip URL Elizabeth Brackett speaks to a group of students which hold very different views on what their university’s admission policy should look like. Most legal scholars think this case will end up in the Supreme Court.

12:16Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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