On Wednesday, March 7, 2012, a 15-judge en banc panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in their review of the 6th Circuit ruling last summer that Proposal 2, the ban on affirmative action in Michigan, is unconstitutional.
George Washington, attorney for the plaintiffs in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action vs. UM Regents et al, said, “Last summer, the Sixth Circuit held that Michigan could not manipulate the political process by making it impossible for racial minorities to seek admission programs that benefit them while allowing every other group to seek any admission program that they want. This ruling must be upheld to maintain basic fairness and equality.”
Since the ban on affirmative action in Michigan, the number of black students at Wayne State’s law and medical schools has dropped by more than 50%. There has been a 30% drop in the number of underrepresented minority students at UM’s graduate and professional programs.
“Prop 2 has already sharply reduced opportunities for talented young black, Latina/o, and Native American students to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors and other leaders. It will have devastating effects on the provision of healthcare and legal services to poor minority communities in Michigan and across the nation. It is leading to a new form of Jim Crow — separate and unequal — in our nation,” said Donna Stern, BAMN National Coordinator.
“Regardless of the court’s ruling, we will continue to fight for integration and equality,” said Tabrian Joe, a senior at University High School in Ferndale and a BAMN student organizer. “We will mobilize students to increase minority enrollment at our state universities using the tactics of direct mass action that were used to win affirmative action programs in the first place.”