In response to President Bush’s announcement charging that the University’s use of race in admissions policies are flawed, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, held a press conference on the steps of the Michigan Union yesterday, calling to uphold the University’s admission policies and further integration in higher education.

Paul Wong
University student Maggie Smith takes notes and sketches a drawing of Luke Massie, a BAMN member and affirmative action supporter, as he speaks on the steps of the Michigan Union.

“What happened was a racist fraud perpetuated against the American people,” National BAMN organizer Luke Massie said, adding that Bush falsely described the University’s admissions policies as quotas to negatively portray the issue. BAMN is involved with the third party interveners, whose case claims that institutionalized racism has perpetuated a system of segregation in higher education.

“Once people understand clearly the University’s admissions policies and see it’s not quotas, there will be a positive reaction to offset the negative,” Massie said. The brief Bush filed with the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday declaring his opposition to the University’s policies has spurred new intensity in the pending decision by the Supreme Court.

Agnes Aleobua, BAMN member and student intervener – a personal witness to the impact diversity and integration have on the University’s atmosphere – said she was not worried about the potentially negative influence of Bush’s statement on the Court. “I’m just more determined more than ever. We have our work cut out to defend affirmative action,” Aleobua said.

‘Say no to Bush, say yes to integration’ read one of the signs BAMN members at the conference held as they called against the re-segregation they said Bush wants to institute.

“The alternatives to affirmative action that Bush offered have all failed where they have tried. To say that there is a ‘race neutral’ method of addressing problems that stem from racism simply flies in the face of facts,” Miranda Massie, an attorney for the student defendants, said in a written statement.

Aleobua said Bush contradicted himself when he claimed to stand for diversity while opposing the only program of integration that allows minorities into the University in great numbers for the first time.

“Bush does not have the authority to move society back,” she added.

Asking youth to show their support for affirmative action when the case is heard, BAMN continues to garner support for their protest march on Washington, D.C., when the Court hears the case.

Aleobua, now a School of Education senior, first joined the case while in high school, said the Court will pay more attention to the civil march than to an amicus filed by Bush.

“The Supreme Court will look out of the window and look around and see minorities and white youth marching,” Aleobua said. “They will feel accountable to the crowd, based on (its) demands.”

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