The collective memory of the majority of students at the University doesn”t include a time when the University”s admissions policy wasn”t under national scrutiny.

The affirmative action lawsuits were brought against the University in 1997. The process will enter a new phase tomorrow, when the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will begin hearings on the lawsuit appeals.

The University”s affirmative action lawsuit appeals were slated to begin nearly two months ago.

The Center for Individual Rights, the plaintiff in the lawsuits challenging the University, was granted a stay so that all nine justices from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals could be present for the appeal.

The Court”s decision to postpone the trials emphasizes their.

Affirmative action is positively shaping the atmosphere of this University by promoting a diverse student population. The University”s case rests on the argument that diversity provides an intangible and unteachable spirit to the education of students.

Since a diverse student population provides a better education via the interaction of students of various backgrounds, affirmative action does constitute a compelling state interest and must be upheld.

Cultural homogeneity on campus creates a negative educational atmosphere for which culural studies courses cannot compensate.

The experience of interacting with a student from a different background is more valuable than any number of Race and Ethnicity requirements.

Compelling arguments can be made for affirmative action admissions policies at both the undergraduate and graduate level. At the undergraduate level, affirmative action has been historically designed to partially level the educational and eventually the career playing-field for different races.

At the graduate and professional school level, the argument becomes even more pragmatic: during historian John Hope Franklin” testimony in the February Law School trial, Franklin illuminated the point that without minority doctors and lawyers (for example), areas of the country with a heavy minority demographic will suffer from a lack of professionals providing healthcare and legal representation.

The University”s status as a major institution of higher learning in this country cannot be divorced from its commitment to diversity.

In 1988, the University began to incorporate affirmative action policies into its admissions policies, under then-President James Duderstadt”s Michigan Mandate.

Since then, the University has consistently considered diversity an important aspect of a well-rounded applicant.

Because of the University”s approach to affirmative action, the University of Michigan has become a school recognized both for its academic excellence and its diversity.

The University”s success in these lawsuits is critical not just for University students, but also for students across the nation.

The CIR”s lawsuit against the University is the most high-profile affirmative action lawsuit, along with being the most well-defended. It is highly likely that these trials will be the ones argued before the Supreme Court setting the precedent for affirmative action in higher education.

With so much at stake, the University is standing up for the quality of education across the country.

The University deserves the thanks and the support of its students and the appeals are the perfect opportunity for students to show that support.

When the Court agreed to postpone the appeals in order to ensure that all nine justices can be present, it was a clear indication of the weight of this case. University students should go to Cincinnati to show the University and the American public via the guaranteed media coverage their support.

Professors should be forgiving of students who choose to forgo fifty minute lectures for an entire day of learning that can find no substitute within classroom walls students should make every effort to get to Cincinnati.

Just as it is important for all nine justices to be in attendance for these trials, it is important for students to be there as well.

Tomorrow:

Gratz v. Bollinger et al and

Grutter v. Bollinger et al

6th Circuit Court of Appeals

Potter Stewart Courthouse

100 E. Fifth St.

Cincinnati

Students in Support of Affirmative Action and the Coaltion to Defend Affirmative Action Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary are chartering buses to Cincinnati.

For the SSAA, e-mail buses@umich.edu with your name, phone number and e-mail address. Show up at the Michigan Room of the Michigan Union between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. to pick up an information packet. Buses leave at 6 a.m.

BAMN”s buses leave at 4 a.m. E-mail bamn@umich.edu.

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