“Before student government can do anything on an issue such as affirmative action, you have to know what students think,” said Rackham Student Government President Brian Hulsebus.

For that reason, this fall’s Rackham Student Government ballot asked students to respond to three questions concerning the University’s use of race in admissions in the College of Literature, Science and Arts and the Law School in addition to casting votes for 13 new representatives.

Results show 57.8 percent of Rackham students support the University’s overall use of race-conscious admissions, 28.8 percent do not support the policies and 13.4 percent are undecided. Slightly fewer than half the students polled do not support the University’s side in the undergraduate and Law School cases.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the two lawsuits filed against the University, students’ voices on both sides of the lawsuit will be heard more than ever, Hulsebus said.

But Hulsebus said he was surprised by the large percentage of students who were undecided on the issue. The results showed 25.8 percent and 28.6 percent of students were undecided whether they supported the University’s defense of its University’s Law School and undergrad policies, respectively.

“It seems that 25 percent to 35 percent of students are unsure about affirmative action,” Hulsebus said. “RSG isn’t here to dictate students opinion on the matter, but we can provide opportunities for dialogue on diversity.”

RSG will use the knowledge of the three referendum questions to better address and connect Rackham students with the University’s policies and lawsuits.

“In addition to what student government usually does, which is limited, it can work together with students to increase discussion, not just a shouting match for students,” Hulsebus said.

Because RSG believes fostering an exchange of ideas between students is part of the University’s role, RSG plans to work closely with administrators to provide an environment for student discussion, Hulsebus said.

A newly-created Diversity Committee was formed to encourage dialogue on diversity around campus.

The committee is still in its beginning stages but will work on projects such as bringing speakers to campus, Theresa Mendoza said, the newly elected social sciences representative and diversity committee chair.

“The committee will be an outlet and provide for the graduate student community, and the community graduate students interact with, so they can share views,” Mendoza said.

Graduate students’ perspective on the University’s race-conscious admissions is unique because the student body is not a monolithic group compared to other schools – students are from varied backgrounds and a range of age groups, Hulsebus said.

“Students probably identify with the Law School case more because our admission policies are more like the Law School. It’s more of a holistic approach,” Hulsebus said.

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