“There’s more at stake here than the University’s admissions policies … the whole country is watching this decision,” said University General Counsel Marvin Krislov last night in the Michigan Union.
Krislov spoke to the University community about what may happen in the months following the U.S. Supreme Court hearings.
Krislov presented a rundown of the events of the Supreme Court hearings on April 1, from the people who waited in line for two days to the 13 buses of students that came to support the University’s race-conscious admissions policies.
“It was interesting to hear about the actual proceedings of the case. (Students) put in a lot of time analyzing the cases, but to see how it manifested itself in the courtroom was intriguing,” LSA sophomore Pete Woiwode said.
Krislov said the defense was preparing for the case up until it was heard in the morning.
The plaintiffs’ arguments included three case studies, the most controversial of which was the Lipsitz study on diversity of college campuses which correlated the percentage of black students with how many students were satisfied with the quality of their education, Krislov said.
The conclusion of the study was that diversity harms the quality of education.
“Racial/ethnic diversity is about leadership. This is why corporations depend on places like the University of Michigan. They want students who have worked in a diverse environment because they want to operate on a global market,” Krislov said.
Krislov stated the two legal questions that will determine the fate of the University’s admissions policies, the first being, “Is diversity compelling enough that you can justify the use of race?” And the second, “Is the program too narrowly tailored?”
Krislov mentioned the importance of the Harvard University Program in weighing these questions. According to the program, “One ought to use race/ethnicity as a plus factor.”
It has been the basis for many admissions and financial aid programs.
Krislov sent two distinct messages to University students.
“First, to think of (the admissions policies) as a numbers exercise is not correct. There were a number of white students admitted ahead of the plaintiffs with lower GPA and test scores. Don’t assume that you know everything that is in their portfolio. Second, everyone is highly qualified who gets in, and there are many highly qualified people who don’t get in,” he said.
Engineering junior, Won Chung said, “(Krislov) went through issues we know, but no compelling convictions of who will win. I think there should be more seminars and lectures like this because students need to be convinced to support this case, and we don’t get it as often as we should.”
The event was sponsored by the Michigan Union Program Board.