Although celebrations by pro-affirmative action student groups could be heard across campus yesterday, it was not necessarily a total defeat for their counterparts.
Anti-affirmative action student groups cite the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling against the University’s controversial point system as evidence that a part of the University’s undergraduate admissions policy is indeed unconstituational.
Andrew Robbins, LSA student and co-president of the Jewish University Republican Alliance, said of his recently formed student group that, “We were a little disappointed, but they did strike down the point system, so in that regard we are happy.”
This sentiment was reiterated by Mike Phillips, LSA senior and publisher of the conservative journal The Michigan Review.
“I was most against the undergraduate policy because of the quota system,” he said.
Although Phillips acknowledged the other side’s victory, he is apprehensive about the future implications of this ruling for the University and its students.
“I am now concerned with what the University will be doing to more accurately reflect the constitution and the mandate,” he said.
The Review’s editor in chief , Ruben Duran, expressed a concern similar to that of Phillips.
“(The University) is going to find another way to get around it, to continue their social experiment to make minorities feel good,” he said. “(They) will now say ’19 and a half points is what we give,'” he added.
The split decision left room for optimism on both sides, but also created some frustrations.
“Essentially it did nothing – nothing is different,” said Duran. “The University will continue to purport the idea of diversity which has been upheld as a compelling state interest.”
Duran’s disappointment was echoed by Chip Englander, an LSA alum, former chairman of the College Republicans and founder of Young Americans for Freedom.
“The decision is ridiculous. It would have been nice to get a clear-cut decision,” he said.
Robbins said of the split that it “showed that the Supreme Court, like the rest of the country, is split on these issues.”
Despite the split decision, the ruling yesterday allowed race to be used as a factor in University admissions policies.
Phillips agreed that race was a factor but warned against giving it too much weight, “Race can play some role, but it can’t play a deciding role – it needs to be used very narrowly,” he said.
Although Phillips said he believes it’s possible to implement a new plan that takes race into consideration, many anti-affirmative action activists disagree. Duran said that “an even more secretive, subjective, non-transparent system” is to be expected. Robbins said that JURA is just looking for (an admissions policy) that is merit based.
But despite these mixed reactions, both anti-affirmative action groups and anti-affirmative action activists are pleased that the undergraduate point system is being modified.
LSA sophomore, MSA member and College Republican Jesse Levine said, “Although I’m a Republican and a moderate, I feel confident with the decision. I’m proud to be a student at the University of Michigan.”