Student activists from around the country will visit campus this weekend to take part in the second national civil rights conference hosted by local members of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.

The conference is scheduled to begin 9 at a.m. Friday with a discussion about civil rights achievements. Detroit-area high school students will join University students and BAMN members in a march and rally at 1 p.m. on the Diag.

This conference follows a previous national conference that was held at the University over the summer, and although BAMN members said they did not know whether the turn-out would be lower or higher than the summer forum, they expect whoever comes to be more politically involved.

“I think it will be bigger,” said BAMN member Agnes Aleobua, an LSA junior. “It will definitely be more widespread. There is a wide range of issues that we have to take up.”

Most of the expected attendees marched in Cincinnati in December when the two lawsuits filed by the Center for Individual Rights against the University”s admissions policies came before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The people who are going to be coming to the conference this weekend are going to be more politically active,” said RC junior and BAMN member Ben Royal. “They have already been involved over the past semester in helping organize the march in Cincinnati and passing the new petition around.”

An original petition, in which people showed their support for affirmative action, was presented to the appeals court judges on Dec. 6 by Miranda Massie, who represented the student intervenors in the lawsuits. BAMN members created a new petition following the appeals to get more signatures of those supporting affirmative action.

Although the judges made a statement criticizing the use of a petition in a judicial setting, Royal said petitions and other forms of action will make an impact on the admissions trials.

“The fact that they delayed the hearing so that it could be heard by the full court which is something that rarely happens the fact that (this was) the first time in history that they”ve ever issued tickets for a hearing and the fact that they had an overflow room speaks to the impact that we had over the court,” Royal said.

Aleobua added that she believes conferences and marches have recently helped bring issues of segregation and integration into the spotlight of the media a victory in itself. Within the last two months, The New York Times and The Detroit News, among other news organizations, have focused special attention to those issues.

“I think there is a broader understanding of the question of integration that is emerging,” she said. “This is the first time ever that these questions have been raised outside of the movement.”

This second conference hopes to spark more of that action through teamwork and networking on a national level, added Aleobua.

“What we are trying to do is unite campus activists from across the country,” she said. “The scope of the conference is to build those coalitions with people and to give those people the framing of a national movement.”

Besides the University”s affirmative action lawsuits, the conference also hopes to address downsizing and budget problems within the Detroit Public School System, standardized testing and the building of a counter-movement against plans such as Florida Gov. Jeb Bush”s “One Florida Plan” and Proposition 209 in California.

Students are expected to travel to Ann Arbor from states ranging from Maryland to California, with some driving 3,000 miles to attend the conference. Students from universities in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee will be attending the conference, since the outcome of the University of Michigan”s lawsuits will impact all institutions in the 6th Circuit.

Students from other universities said they will not mind the drive to get to the conference.

“Whatever we can do to play our part in this new civil rights movement, we are willing to do that,” said University of Tennessee law school student Dumaka Shabazz, who plans on attending the conference with 18 of his peers. “Whatever the decision from the 6th Circuit is, it will affect us. You already have some other circuits that are going against affirmative action.”

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