In an effort to educate the University community on affirmative action, students attended “Outlook on Affirmative Action,” an event sponsored by the Michigan Student Assembly and LSA Student Government yesterday afternoon. The event featured opposing perspectives on the legality of affirmative action and race-conscious admissions in higher education.

Undergraduate Admissions Director Ted Spencer and Law School Admissions Assistant Director Sarah Zearfoss summarized their respective policies. Both admissions policies placed heavy importance on grade point averages and test scores while taking many other factors into account.

RC Philosophy Prof. Carl Cohen and Assistant Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law Philip Pucillo argued the admissions policies of LSA Undergraduate and the Law schools were unconstitutional. Former LSA interim Dean Patricia Gurin and University Assistant General Counsel Jonathan Alger defended the admissions policies.

Cohen said the University’s policies are wrong because they discriminated by race. “When discrimination is exercised by the state, it’s egregiously wrong,” Cohen said.

Pucillo presented a summary of the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case. In 1978, the Bakke case declared quotas in admission policies illegal and unconstitutional, but race can be used as a factor. Pucillo said the Law School’s policies hide quotas through their admission standards. “Spaces were reserved or protected for certain students,” he said. He added the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court justices had not declared diversity to be reason for discrimination. “Diversity has not been recognized by the majority of the Supreme Court as compelling,” Pucillo said.

In response to Cohen and Pucillo, Gurin and Alger said diversity was a compelling interest in terms of educational enhancement. Gurin provided evidence of a necessary critical mass for diversity. “Diversity is not a virus, you don’t just catch it,” she said. She dismissed the argument of underrepresented students of color developing a stigma of inferiority because of affirmative action. “Students of color know they are devalued even without affirmative action,” she said.

Alger reinforced the University’s admissions policies do not contain quotas. Alger said four of the justices ruling in the Bakke case would have claimed, “Colleges and universities have the right to remedy the effects of societal discriminations,” Alger said, adding there were admitted white students with lower grade point averages and test scores than students of color denied admission. “Every year we have white students with lower grades and test scores than some minority students who were rejected,” Alger said.

LSA freshman Alex Sloan attended the event because she was interested and wanted to learn more about affirmative action. She found the University’s argument very compelling. “You can’t separate environment from educational experience,” Sloan said.

as compelling,” Pucillo said.

In response to Cohen and Pucillo, Gurin and Alger said diversity was a compelling interest in terms of educational enhancement. Gurin provided evidence of a necessary critical mass for diversity. “Diversity is not a virus, you don’t just catch it,” she said. She dismissed the argument of underrepresented students of color developing a stigma of inferiority because of affirmative action. “Students of color know they are devalued even without affirmative action,” she said.

Alger reinforced the University’s admissions policies do not contain quotas. Alger said four of the justices ruling in the Bakke case would have claimed, “Colleges and universities have the right to remedy the effects of societal discriminations,” Alger said, adding there were admitted white students with lower grade point averages and test scores than students of color denied admission. “Every year we have white students with lower grades and test scores than some minority students who were rejected,” Alger said.

LSA freshman Alex Sloan attended the event because she was interested and wanted to learn more about affirmative action. She found the University’s argument very compelling. “You can’t separate environment from educational experience,” Sloan said.

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