When the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals convenes Dec. 6 in Cincinnati to discuss the fate of affirmative action in higher education, the Defend Affirmative Action Party will be there.

“Our campaign is focused on the December 6 affirmative action appeals date and the fight for affirmative action,” said Rackham Michigan Student Assembly Rep. Jessica Curtin. “December 6 is what it all comes down to. It will decide the future of integration in higher education.”

DAAP the oldest campus party running in the Nov. 14 and 15 MSA elections was established in 1997 and stands to defend affirmative action and work to secure MSA”s endorsement of the national petition to support affirmative action at the University.

“We act on what we say,” said LSA Rep. Agnes Aleobua, a junior who is running for second term. She specifically referred to educational forums and the national petition campaign to defend affirmative action.

“The importance of December 6 cannot be underestimated. When they postponed the trial, it said (the courts) would take it more seriously,” she said.

The party gathered 6,000 signatures on their petition that they will present to the judges in December. A nationwide petition currently has 30,000 people in support of affirmative action.

“The 6,000 people who already signed the petition should vote for DAAP,” Aleobua said. “After the loss in March, there was a 40 percent drop in black students in the law school. That is something we cannot lose. We have to lead a strong fight to make sure that doesn”t happen.

“It is vital that student government be made of pro-affirmative action people who fight for what they understand about the situation, and that is DAAP,” Aleobua added.

Curtin said she hopes this MSA election will be somewhat of a turning point for DAAP, which has recently seen its support in the assembly diminished. Many campus groups have accused DAAP and its members of monopolizing racial issues. “We took our first negative when MSA voted 12 to 11 against supporting the petition. It was the first time in my three years that MSA voted against (defending affirmative action),” Curtin said.

DAAP candidate Ben Royal, an LSA junior, said he hopes to be in a stronger position to organize students in defense of affirmative action.

“The appeal on December 6 is for students who care about integration and want to make an impact on history,” Royal said.

Royal also said DAAP consistently defends the democratic rights of all people, even on issues unrelated to affirmative action.

“It”s the democratic right for (a person) to vote for who they want to vote for,” he said.

DAAP candidates and representatives also urge women to take a stronger position against sexism and sexual assaults on campus.

“The rise is not just because of more coverage or reports, so we”re offering women a chance to fight back,” Curtin said. “People think this is a private problem, and we want to allow women to speak out.”

The party also stands opposed to the war against terrorism. Members plan to continue the green armband campaign, which denounces attacks on Arabs and Muslims following the events of Sept. 11.

“We are the only party that stands against the war,” Curtin said.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.