If you .

– Do not want to see our university resegregated

– Oppose the occupation of Iraq

– Do not think a college education should put you in debt for the rest of your life

– Oppose prejudice and discrimination

– Know that immigrants deserve the same respect and dignity as other human beings

– Think that students should have rights and that student government should be independent

– Believe that justice is worth standing up for

. then you should vote for the Defend Affirmative Action Party in the March 21 and 22 student government election.

We believe deeply that the Michigan Student Assembly should be an independent voice for our interests as students; that it should stand up for students’ rights, oppose tuition increases and marshal the kind of resources and collective effort necessary to make our campus safe for female students. All these things are possible; they will take determination and struggle. There is no reason the student government of our university has to be simply an irrelevant student auxiliary to the administration. It can and should be a genuinely independent voice for students. Vote DAAP. Put people of principle on MSA.

This MSA election occurs at a key moment; the next couple of months can determine whether or not the passage of Proposal 2 will result in the resegregation of our university and other campuses across the state.

Following the passage of Proposition 209 in California, administrators in the University of California system declined to continue using any effective measures to integrate their campuses. Underrepresented minority enrollment plummeted as a result. We can prevent that from happening in Michigan, but we must act now as the policies to respond to Proposal 2 are being formulated.

Thrust into the national spotlight by the two recent anti-affirmative action lawsuits and Ward Connerly’s ballot proposals, our university now carries both the burden and the opportunity of playing the leading role in defending integration nationally. Other colleges and universities across the state will gauge their responses to Proposal 2 based on the response of this university. Voting for DAAP is one of the key ways that students can participate in this struggle.

For all students on this campus, the fight over affirmative action is part of a larger conflict over the historical direction of the state and the nation, about what our society can and ought to be. For minority students in particular, this fight means far more than just an abstract, intellectual debate. What some have portrayed as being merely a disagreement over legal interpretation has, in reality, been an ongoing attack on the intellectual capacity of every black, Hispanic and Native American student on campus. It has meant the constant pressure to work twice as hard for half the respect, to forget or to hide one’s true self and to perform under magnified scrutiny.

The Defend Affirmative Action Party completely rejects the notion that, having been “given” the opportunity to attend the University, minority students must, in exchange, tolerate and defer to daily racist treatment. This hostile campus climate is unacceptable, and DAAP aims to change it.

We know that when we fight, we can win. The Defend Affirmative Action Party played a key role in organizing and leading the 50,000-person march on Washington that successfully urged the U.S. Supreme Court to defend affirmative action programs. But we also know that the fate of affirmative action programs is not determined by individual lawsuits and ballot proposals. Defending the project of integration requires the power and the leadership of a new civil rights movement.DAAP exists to build and empower that movement.

Maricruz Lopez is an LSA sophomore and the DAAP candidate for MSA President. Sarah Barnard is an LSA senior and the DAAP candidate for MSA Vice President. Liana Mulholland is an Art and Design sophomore and a DAAP candidate for MSA representative. Yousef Rabhi is an LSA freshman and a DAAP candidate for MSA representative.

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