State Rep. Leon Drolet announced on the Diag yesterday that he plans to propose a bill prohibiting students from receiving Michigan Merit Awards if they attend a university with an affirmative action admissions policy.

Paul Wong
Members of the campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom protest affirmative action at their rally yesterday.<br><br>JOHN PRATT/Daily

“This bill would prohibit Merit scholarships from going to students who attend racist universities,” he said to a small group of students who assembled for what they called the first rally against affirmative action in University history.

Drolet (R-Lennox Twp.) went on to explain that he considers any schools that use race as a factor in admissions to be racist, including the University of Michigan.

If passed, his new bill would prohibit University students from receiving the $2,500 Michigan Merit scholarships awarded to college-bound students who meet state standards on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test.

Drolet said he wants to withhold that money from schools in order to pressure them to change their admissions policies.

“I look at affirmative action as racial profiling by University of Michigan admissions,” he said.

Studies show that minority students are 173 times more likely to get into the University than non-minorities, Drolet said.

“People should be judged on merit, not on the color of their skin,” he added.

LSA freshman Scott Foley, a YAF member who received a Michigan Merit Award, supported Drolet”s plan.

“I think that”s a way to get voters behind the anti-affirmative action cause,” he said.

The protest, organized by the campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, was planned as a response to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on the two lawsuits challenging the University”s race-conscious admissions policies, originally scheduled for today but postponed until Dec. 6.

YAF members said they were pleased at the postponement and optimistic about the chances that affirmative action will be defeated at that hearing.

“As I understand it, all three of the judges (who were to hear the case) supported affirmative action. The rest of the court is more conservative,” said LSA junior James Justin Wilson, a YAF member.

“I think U of M will be defeated,” he said.

Wilson said that even though the YAF rally was the first to oppose affirmative action, the lack of previous protests is not a sign that students are in favor of the admissions policies.

“The silent majority of campus is with us,” Wilson said.

Rackham student Jessica Curtin, a member of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, attended the rally and expressed her disapproval.

“These people are really exposing themselves as racists. They”re for the resegregation of higher education,” she said.

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