affirmative action

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.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: YouTube screenshot

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.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

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.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

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.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: Charlie Nguyen/Flickr

The University of California Los Angeles has had its cover blown wide open.

According to UCLA Professor Tim Groseclose in his new book, “Cheating: An Insider’s Report on the Use of Race in Admissions at UCLA,” the public university has conducted under the table affirmative action programs – despite the practice being illegal in California.

The public university did so in an effort to admit black students at a much higher rate than they would have been if the school had followed the letter of the law, his research found. Campus officials’ decisions had a detrimental effect on the acceptance rates of white and Asian students, according to the data he unearthed.

“I happened to be on the faculty oversight committee at UCLA and it was clear there was cheating going on,” Groseclose said in an interview with The College Fix. “I never would have written anything at all about admissions in college if I hadn’t been on this committee.”

The book details how UCLA admissions personnel used a “holistic” approach to their decisions. Groseclose said he believes that the holistic approach facilitated the ability of the admissions staff to grant under-the-table racial preferences.

UCLA spokesman Ricardo Vazquez told Fox News that the school “will not address specific assertions made by Prof. Groseclose,” but said “UCLA believes its admissions process to be fair, transparent and consistent with state law.”

When the state’s voters in 1996 passed Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, it was the first successful ballot initiative to forbid the use of race, sex, and ethnicity in public employment decisions, including admission to state universities.

Several states have followed California’s lead, most notably Michigan, which banned the practice by a ballot initiative in 2006.

Groseclose said he believes that the affirmative action activity continued illegally at the urging and coercion of the state legislature and alumni groups.

“When UCLA had a drop in African-American admissions, there was a crisis on campus – there were protests at the chancellor’s office,” Groseclose said. “And the chancellor showed up at my committee – and this was remarkable, I never heard of this before – and he lobbied us to change the admissions system.”

“He said there were several constituencies of UCLA distressed at the low number of African-Americans,” Groseclose added. “He said at least two of those constituencies were black alumni groups and the other was the legislature in Sacramento. He certainly implied that our funding was going to be cut if we didn’t increase diversity.”

The legislature was urging and even strongarming the university into breaking the law.

Despite these obvious signs of illegal activity, Groseclose claimed he could never access admissions data for himself, even after requesting it.

“When I asked for a thousand random admissions files, which I thought was a legitimate duty and undertaking of my committee, UCLA refused,” he said.

The reluctance to release the files sounded alarms, Groseclose said, and it raised his suspicions that the university was engaging in clearly illegal activity. He received the data only after filing a Public Records Act in California.

Groseclose published these findings and more in April. He is also the author of “Left Turn: How Liberal Bias Distorts The American Mind.”

An amendment to the California constitution was proposed in 2012 which would have allowed for the consideration of race, color, ethnicity, and national origin in admissions decisions for public universities. It passed the state Senate but was ultimately withdrawn from consideration after public opposition to the bill made its future politically unviable.

As The College Fix reported last winter, at UCLA “white students are actually severely ‘underrepresented’ compared to black students: the white percentage at UCLA is only 37.7 percent of the total percentage of white residents in the state, whereas the black percentage at UCLA is 57.6 percent of the total statewide percentage of black residents – a 20 point difference.”

College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter