Two months ago, more than 300 organizations filed 60 amicus briefs supporting the University’s race-conscious admissions policies, which will be defended in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in less than a week. But a survey compiled during Michigan Student Assembly elections last week shows students might not be presenting a unified home front when it comes supporting the policies.
According to a survey of 6,432 students, approximately 41.5 percent said they opposed the University’s admissions policies, while 40.8 percent expressed support. The remaining 17.7 percent said they felt they needed more information before making a decision.
MSA President-elect Angela Galardi, who supported an MSA resolution passed last month favoring the policies, said she was concerned with the large number of uninformed voters. She said she plans on sponsoring more forums and events to educate interested students.
“Twenty percent that voted don’t feel they have enough information and that’s a problem,” Galardi said. “We’re going to have more student outreach.”
But Galardi said MSA must also consider the fact that only 20 percent of the student body voted in elections.
Earlier this month, MSA voted 32-1 to allocate $12,000 for buses to transport students to Washington for the Supreme Court hearings, coordinated with Students Supporting Affirmative Action. Galardi said she still supports the move because anybody – regardless of their viewpoint – is allowed on the buses.
“(SSAA) offered to help and we needed that help. It’s not because the students are being to limited to one group or another,” Galardi said.
LSA freshman Laura Davis, who opposes the University’s admissions policies, said she feels more non-University-sponsored events need to be held. She also said opponents of the University’s admissions policies – especially groups like Young Americans for Freedom – need to speak out more.
“I think they’re starting to do that. Obviously BAMN and DAAP have a long history with the University and are very vocal,” Davis said, referring to The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Fight for Integration in Equality By Any Means Necessary and The Defend Affirmative Action Party, respectively.
But University Regent Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann Arbor) said she is very skeptical about the results of the survey. She added that she believes in the value of using race in the admissions policies and has talked with numerous students and faculty over the years that have reinforced her views.
“My job is to determine what is in the better interests of the people who are being educated here,” McGowan said.