News of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision regarding the use of race in the Law School admissions process spread across campus late yesterday morning, bringing forth student opinion and discussion. The verdict reversed the lower court’s judgment to prohibit the Law School’s use of race when considering applications.
Many students expressed views in favor of the decision to support race as a factor in admissions.
Law student Valerie Krasnoff admitted it is a difficult issue, but feels race-conscious admissions is in the best interest of classroom diversity and the Law School.
“No one wants to be the token black student in the class,” she said. “It’s better for everyone.”
Krasnoff said she believes that without an element of race consciousness in admissions the number of minorities would be very low. “It really is necessary.”
She added that the Law School’s respected reputation can be attributed in part to the institution’s diversity.
The conviction in the importance of educational diversity was supported by Michigan Student Assembly President Sarah Boot.
“I love the diversity in this school,” Boot said, adding that she believes the rest of the student body also appreciates this element of education at the University. MSA passed a resolution during the Winter 2002 semester supporting the use of race in admissions at the University.
Rackham Student Lora Park also emphasized the positive influence of multiculturalism in education.
“I think [the decision] is a good thing because we need to continue diversity and ensure that underrepresented groups have an opportunity for continued education,” Park said.
Like Krasnoff and Boot, Park believes most people are in favor of the 6th Circuit’s decision. Yet many students have concerns regarding the use of race in admissions despite their general support of the University’s position in the case.
“There are good points to it and there are bad,” LSA sophomore Nicole Faulkauff said. “It’s definitely something you can’t say yes or no to.”
Some students took issue with the implementation of admissions influenced by race at the postgraduate or even collegiate level.
“I think it’s a little late,” LSA junior Chris Lafond said. He added that the demographic differences that affect education are more present in the elementary and high schools.
“I’m not opposed to it at this level,” Lafond said, adding that he felt the goals of minority consciousness should be achieved earlier in the education system.
Other students fully oppose the use of race in admissions at the University. Engineering sophomore and MSA representative Ruben Duran viewed such measures as discriminatory and said he felt the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court.
“I don’t believe in singling people out on the virtue of skin color,” Duran said, disagreeing with the 6th Circuit’s decision. “I want everyone treated equally.”
Calling himself a civil libertarian, Duran said he feels such practices are “pasting over civil rights.” He posed the question that if we are to consider race for admissions, why not consider political belief to add to campus diversity.
“Where does the singling out start and end?” he asked.
Duran feels the issue of equality in education needs to be addressed in high school.
“There’s no reason at the graduate level,” Duran said.
He added that undergraduate grades and scores are not so influenced by race that it should affect admission to post-graduate schools.
Instead, Duran is in favor of looking at socioeconomic status rather than race as an influence on admissions.
“Minorities aren’t the only ones who’ve been oppressed,” Duran said. He added that he felt this component will allow all people, including minorities, to be considered for admissions.