affirmative action

Campus radicals shout list of demands, pledge to disrupt meetings until demands met

An aggressive pack of protesters recently stormed a University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting, repeatedly screamed chants to drown out the meeting, got in a physical altercation with security guards that included pushing and shoving, and ultimately forced campus leaders to quickly leave the room under protection of campus security.

The two dozen protesters – some students, some local activists – were led by members of the radical community-based group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, who had planned the protest publicly for weeks. Referring to the Black Action Movement that famously shut down the University of Michigan in the spring of 1970 as inspiration, BAMN’s efforts ultimately failed to shut down the campus but succeeded in taking over the meeting.

“We are holding the meeting today that is the real meeting, that is the meeting of the students,” lead organizer student Kate Stenvig declared as students and other attendees who came to witness the regent’s meeting began filing out of the room.

Their demands?

“Double Underrepresented Minority Student Enrollment.”

“Jail Killer Cops.”

“Make U of M a Sanctuary Campus – No Immigration & Customs Enforcement on Campus.”

“We’re going to keep shutting these meetings down and having our own meetings until these demands are met,” Stenvig said.

The Nov. 20 coup took place five minutes into the start of the board meeting, as the 20 or so protesters drowned out Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor’s remarks with well-rehearsed chants such as “we don’t need another committee, open it up to Detroit city” and “Minority enrollment’s been going down, open it up or we’ll shut it down.” At times they screamed the chants.

They marched toward the roped off regents’ area, leading to a physical altercation with security that prompted the regents to sneak out the back exit of the Michigan Union’s Anderson Room out of fear for their safety, administrators said at the time. A video taken by The College Fix shows pushing and shoving and other aggressive tactics between protesters and security.


Attendees expressed surprise at BAMN’s actions, many claiming they had never seen a regents meeting shut down in such a manner.

Emboldened by the recent conflict in Ferguson, BAMN has declared that now is the time to take action on their various grievances with the university.

“Ferguson, Missouri has made more than clear that our generation is not apathetic, and that there is boiling and growing anger, bitterness, and frustration in our youth, ready to be unleashed toward this rotten leadership,” said student Jose Alvarenga, a key organizer of the protest.

Another protester pitched in: “We can shut down this campus really quickly. Ferguson has taught us that.”

A central complaint of BAMN members is the perceived failure of the university to provide wholesale admissions access to Detroit students.

“We need action, and in particular, a Texas 10 percent plan for schools in Detroit,” said student organizer Liana Mulholland, referencing a program in Texas where all students who finish in the top 10 percent of their class are guaranteed admission to the state’s public universities.

Administrators have already explained that such a plan could only work in a state-wide university system, which Michigan currently does not have.

Yet one of the more vocal opponents of the perceived “resegregation” was Kevin Wolf, a Jewish freshman who wears a kippah and said he believes that the lack of minority enrollment in some way affects the Jewish community.

“All minorities are connected, all people want to express themselves, who have a rich culture, and don’t just want to blend into the bourgeoisie of America, should stand up, fight back, and declare that we have a right to this campus, and that this campus should be an open place for culture, dialogue, and freedom of expression,” he said.

BAMN shows no signs of stopping, verbally promising continued protests as their plan of action.

“It doesn’t take 40 years to increase minority enrollment, it doesn’t take a suit to increase minority enrollment; it takes shutting down this campus,” announced one African American protestor. It was unclear if he was a student.

“We earned a place in history not because we made the right speeches, or said the right things, but because we took the right actions,”  he added.

After reading their previously stated list of demands, BAMN representatives took a vote regarding whether to endorse them. They passed, unanimously.

On top of this, the university may find itself in legal trouble stemming from this incident, after choosing to conduct the rest of the regents meeting behind closed doors, a potential violation of the Open Meetings Act. President Schlissel has said he’ll refer the matter to legal counsel.

College Fix reporters Samantha Audia and Hunter Swogger co-authored this article.

VIDEO: Hunter Swogger, IMAGE: Samantha Audia

Students, community activists hold ‘public tribunal on hostile campus climate’ at University of Michigan

Disgruntled students at the University of Michigan have declared an alleged drop in minority enrollment a “national scandal” and representative of “the new Jim Crow,” and pledged in conjunction with community organizers at a recent strategy meeting on campus to “kick this university’s ass” and “shut the campus down” unless minority enrollment increases.

The comments were made by University of Michigan students as well as radical Ann Arbor-area activists with By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, who were back on campus Friday night for what was dubbed a “public tribunal on hostile campus climate.”

The three-hour trial featured a parade of speakers who bemoaned a wide variety of grievances they claim are prevalent on campus, including racism, sexism, Islamaphobia, misogyny and more to a crowd of approximately 30 people, of which less than half were current University of Michigan students. In fact, children as young as 8 and adults as old as 55 were among the crowd.

BAMN and its cohorts already garnered national attention last year when its raucous campus protests and demands prompted administrators to fork over $650,000 for a Trotter Multicultural Center makeover and create campus campaigns to address alleged racism. But it’s clear they are not satisfied with those concessions, saying Friday they were half-measures and have ultimately changed nothing.

“Day in and day out we are forced to sit awkwardly in class because we are scared of what people might think of us,” said freshman Tala Taleb, who wears a Hijab, or headscarf. “I always feel like I have to be on my absolute best behavior to not portray Arabs in a negative light. I don’t feel comfortable knowing that I am being judged for everything I do.”

Taleb went on to call award-winning Professor Victor Lieberman, who teaches “History 244: The Arab Israeli Conflict,” a “Zionist” and suggested he discriminates against Muslim students.

Junior Austin Hamling claimed that “hate crimes against Muslin women (are) on the rise.” He did not address FBI crime stats which have found hate crimes against Muslims have stabilized following a spike in 2001, however.

BAMN organizers also circulated a petition titled “In Defense of the Rights of Muslim Women,” which stated in part “we unequivocally defend the right of Muslim women to freedom of religion and religious expression.” The petition did not state what specific actions would be taken to realize this goal, nor clarify the policies that would have to be enacted to ensure Muslim women are free from anti-Islamic bigotry.

Nevertheless, the petition was approved by all in attendance in a unanimous verbal vote.

Another topic they addressed was affirmative action. A long-standing demand of BAMN has been to have at least 10 percent of students enrolled at the University of Michigan be black, although more recently they have pushed for Michigan to adopt a program similar to the one in Texas, where all students who finish in the top 10 percent of their class are guaranteed admission to the state’s public universities.

To force administrators to move forward on this, they pledged to “occupy” the Nov. 20 Board of Regents meeting and impede campus operations.

“We are ready to shut down this campus at the Regents meeting if they cannot turn their wrongs into rights,” freshman Joseph Frailey declared.

A guest speaker who introduced himself as “Donovan” chose a more inflammatory approach: “We have power, and we can kick this university’s ass. This is our campus, and they better open it the f*** up, or we will shut it down.” It’s not clear if he is a student.

BAMN members repeatedly claimed Friday night that 3.7 percent of the fall 2014 freshman class at the University of Michigan is black – a figure they say is unacceptable and reflective of racist policies.

However, student Joseph Frailey in his speech to the crowd said: “I myself have never experienced racism on a personal level, but I’ve read numerous articles about racism occurring, and I’ve entertained the idea of this possibly happening to me.”

What’s more, it’s unclear where BAMN members get the 3.7 percent figure. Official university figures show that 250 out of 5,466 freshman students, or 4.57 percent, are black, according to calculations by The College Fix using figures provided on the university’s website.

In an interview with The College Fix after the meeting, Taleb was asked what specific measures she would like to see implemented on campus.

“I would really just like to change things up and finally defeat racism and sexism on campus,” she replied.

College Fix reporter Hunter Swogger is a student at the University of Michigan.

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Writing in the University of Georgia’s The Red & Black, Katelyn Umholtz cannot seem to reconcile how Millennials can believe in a colorblind society … and also oppose affirmative action (my emphasis):

A survey conducted by MTV asked 3,000 Millennials ages 14 to 24 their thoughts on race-related issues, including affirmative action for college acceptance, in May. And what it found was seemingly paradoxical: 90 percent of Millennials surveyed “believe that everyone should be treated the same regardless of race,” yet 88 percent opposed affirmative action.

Thomas Greneker, a senior University of Georgia biology major from Valdosta, said it’s a “tricky debate” because diversity is so important. However, he said he does not think affirmative action is the fairest route to take when creating a diverse community.

“It’s not an equal approach in a push for equality,” Greneker said.

Seriously: why the phrase “seemingly paradoxical” and the word “yet” when comparing the belief in colorblindness to opposition to affirmative action?

Only those obsessed with diversity could see a contradiction between the two.

Read the full article here.

h/t to Discriminations.

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Research by George Mason University’s David Kravitz and colleagues reveals that, while “affirmative action policies in the workforce have increased diversity,” they’ve also had the effect of “stigmatizing the very workers the policies are designed to help.”

Kravitz and management professors Lisa Leslie of New York University and David Mayer of the University of Michigan built on previous studies that found that affirmative action recipients were viewed as less competent, which creates feelings of self-doubt for recipients.

To counteract this effect, organizations should emphasize the qualifications of new hires, the researchers said, and allow the staff to know them as a person—their interests, hobbies, and such. Companies also should reinforce the message that a stronger, more diverse team helps the whole organization succeed.

“When a person is a member of a group targeted by an affirmative action plan, anyone who believes affirmative action involves preferences may not know why they were hired,” Kravitz says. “Maybe they were hired because they’re great. Or maybe the corporation wants to hit a target. To eliminate stigmatization, make sure everyone knows that the affirmative action program does not involve preferences and highlight the competence and credentials of the new hires.”

Those hired through affirmative action programs also need to be reminded that they were selected for their qualifications and that others know of their qualifications.

Here’s a thought: If “everyone” (employees) need to be made aware that a new hire was brought on board because of his/her qualifications, then why not ditch affirmative action altogether?

The “stronger, more diverse team” mantra seems a lot like that used in education (and which the US Supreme Court unfortunately bought in the University of Michigan Grutter case) — that some mystical “critical mass” of minorities somehow makes the academic experience “better.” (The National Association of Scholars provides a brilliant rebuttal to this belief.)

Read the full article here.

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Roslyn Chavda, a former assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire, was hired at the school during a hiring freezebecause of the school’s “ongoing efforts to enhance racial diversity on campus.”

Chavda was fired from her job in 2012 due to poor performance reviews and failure to publish in scholarly journals, according to UNH.

Chavda claimed that a white male untenured professor hired around the same time as she also did not publish, and is still employed by the school. She also had claimed gender discrimination, having had issues due to giving birth to twins shortly after her arrival at UNH.

Her claims were recently defeated in court:

Chavda has produced no evidence of any racial animus on the part of any of her colleagues in the political science department. She has produced evidence that her colleagues knew that the only reason the department was able to hire her was her race. But, she has not produced any evidence that any member of the department was displeased by the circumstances of Chavda’s hiring or harbored any animosity toward African Americans specifically or people of color generally.

Although she refers to “venom” hurled by her colleagues, the only venom of which she provides any evidence consists of comments about her deficiencies in teaching, scholarship, and interactions with colleagues in the department.

And, while she has produced evidence that several of her colleagues harbored serious doubts about her competence long before she was removed from the tenure track, none of those internal P&T Committee communications give any indication that her colleagues harbored racial animus.

Read the full full court decision here.

h/t to Instapundit.

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After a long paean to the wisdom of the two judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who upheld the University of Texas-Austin’s race-conscious admissions process for a segment of applicants, New York Times op-ed columnist Linda Greenhouse – the paper’s former Supreme Court correspondent – explains why she thinks the Supreme Court won’t touch the case again.

A little background: The Supreme Court sent back Fisher v. University of Texas to the 5th Circuit last year with explicit instructions to give UT-Austin “no deference” and instead apply “strict scrutiny” to the school’s claims that its admissions policies are “narrowly tailored” to achieve diversity, as The College Fix noted last week.

Greenhouse says the two judges upholding the program – the third dissented – went to great lengths to make it “cert-proof,” meaning the Supreme Court won’t accept Abigail Fisher’s promised appeal:

The case is complicated because the Texas plan is complicated; Judge Higginbotham called it “a unique creature” that “offers no template for others.” This may be the opinion’s most brilliant stroke, reducing this high-profile case to an eccentric one-off — just the kind of case the Supreme Court ordinarily steers clear of. Abigail Fisher’s backers have vowed to take the case back to the Supreme Court. But unless the new appeal offers a plausible vehicle for getting rid of affirmative action — a goal for which, as last June’s decision demonstrated, there are not five votes, why would the justices bother? [emphasis added]

Greenhouse predicts the next plaintiff in a race-conscious program challenge won’t be white:

Edward Blum, the frontman for a network of conservative foundations that channel money to his Project on Fair Representation, is currently scouring the elite college landscape to find a new Abigail Fisher (he recruited the first one) willing to lend his or her (hopefully Asian, this time) name to challenge a more typical admissions plan.

Asian students may be the biggest losers in any plan that swaps out objective admissions criteria for bias-prone subjective reviews, as former College Fix editor Robby Soave writes at Reason regarding proposed changes to New York City elite public school admissions:

While I can understand the desire to assist groups that aren’t making the cut for selective public schools, it doesn’t seem fair—or morally justifiable—to stack the game against Asians seeking admittance merely because other Asians have fared well.

Of course, this is exactly what universities practicing affirmative action have done for years, using ethnicity-based admission systems that grade Asian applicants on a much higher curve. Should students be judged on their own merits or against the expected accomplishments of other people who happen to look like them?

Read Greenhouse’s full analysis here, and Soave’s review of the New York City admissions debate here.

CORRECTION: This post originally misidentified Robby Soave as a contributor to The College Fix. It has been updated to identify him as the site’s former editor.

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