Affirmative Action: The University of Michigan is Wrong

Imagine, your walking down the street looking for a job. You see a sign in the window that says, Whites encouraged to apply. Imagine the period in time when just being white got you into a college, without any other considerations of grades or athletic ability. Those were the days of the Jim Crow laws. Now these instances have happened in the past 20 years, through new laws called Affirmative Action. The big argument is over these few years of affirmative action. Have they alleviated the pain of the Jim Crow laws? The answer to that question is no.

Especially, in the case of the University of Michigans use of Affirmative Action in the acceptance of students. Using race as a factor of admission is wrong and is reverse discrimination. Jennifer Gratz, Patrick Hamacher, and Barber Grutter have filed lawsuits against the University of Michigan for being denied admission based on their race. Hamacher had a GPA of slightly under 3. 4 and an ACT score of 28 (Kosseff). Gratz, who attended Southgate High School, had a GPA of 3. 765 and ACT score of 25, said she hopes to change an admissions system that she believes is flawed (Kosseff).

Grutter, who tried to gain admission to the University of Michigan law school, maintained a straight-A average through college. She did this all in spite having two children and working nights to support them. All of them witnessed students with much lower credentials get accepted because they were minorities. The university is unapologetic about its use of race in admissions. According to Michigan’s president, Lee Bollinger, it’s the right thing to do (Bradley). Lee Bolinger says : The basic idea is that students learn better when they’re in an environment in which not everyone is just like them.

And we take into account a host of factors. Race and ethnicity are two, but there are many others. The question of bigness or smallness of the–of the factor is not the way to look at it. The–the question is: How much do you value diversity as an educational tool for your students? (Bradley) This maybe a noble idea, but the system to get to this idea of diversity is evil and wrong. Carl Cohen is the professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan and has been since 1955. He is old enough to remember the discriminatory practices at certain schools set quotas for Jewish students like him.

Cohen is a Liberal that believes in Affirmative Action, but he opposes any system of race preference. He believes that the University of Michigans system of admission does use race as a preference. When Barbara Grutter applied to law school Cohen saw that her chances of getting in were way below that of minorities. In an interview with Ed Bradley, Cohen shows the Law school admission records from 1995 show these shocking statistics: Here, 51 applications, one admit; 61 applications, one admit; 2 percent, 3 percent chance of getting in. Not easy. That was for Caucasian Americans.

That’s their word language; not mine. This is their sheet. And they prepared another sheet for African-Americans. Same cells, same scores: 10 applicants, 10 admits; five applications, five admits. One hundred percent, instead of 2 percent opportunity, which is what the case is for whites. A hundred percent for blacks. It–oh, come on. (Bradley) In 1995, Cohen read an article pointing out that the acceptance rates of blacks at many major universities was higher than that of whites. So, he asked the University of Michigan for information regarding these claims.

The university told him that information was confidential. Cohen had to use the Freedom of Information Act to get the documents he wanted. The documents he found were rather startling. They showed that the University of Michigan was use race as a preference in admission to their college. The forms used by the university had a line at the top of the form that read Use top line for majority students; use middle and bottom line for minority students (Bradley). This is wrong for a university to separate applicants based on their race. The applicants submitted their high school grades and SAT scores to the university.

The university then combines the scores, if they are above a certain level the student is admitted. Cohen found for the white students who get the top line, its reject. And for the black students or the Hispanic students who get the bottom line, it’s admit (Bradley). When these documents were revealed, the university stopped using them and came up with a points system. The system of points was also discriminating against white students and is wrong to use. For example, a perfect GPA is worth 80 points, having a parent who went to the school is worth 4. Scholarship athletes are awarded 20 points.

A perfect SAT score is worth 12 points, an outstanding essay gets you 1, and being a minority is worth 20 (Bradley). This is a major example of the University of Michigan discriminating against white applicants, which is reverse racism. In an interview with Ed Bradley of CBS, Liz Barry, the universitys deputy general counsel, says race does matter in admissions process at the University of Michigan (Bradley). She claims that bringing together a diverse student body brings educational benefits. These benefits are not worth discriminating against a race in my opinion.

Colleges and universities apply double standards when admitting black and Hispanic students. Blacks and Hispanics dont need as high as credentials as whites and Asians to get into the college or university. One study was done by two important former college presidents: William Bowen and Derek Bok, published the findings of a study on affirmative action, “The Shape of the River,” in which they claimed that minority students who benefited from preferential admissions standards nonetheless went on to perform well, earning graduate degrees at higher numbers than might be expected (Chavez).

Although they found this true, they didnt publish the results of the effect of Affirmative Action on graduate programs. Over the past six years, the Center of Equal Opportunity has been doing a study on the effect of race preference on college admission. This organization studied six medical schools in every region of the country. The pattern that they found was that black and Hispanic students are being admitted to medical school with much lower college grades and test scores than whites or Asians.

If you are a black or Hispanic applicant your chances of being admitted to medical school are much greater than a white or Asian with the same grades and MCAT scores. This is wrong and racist. At the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1997, the odds ratio of a black applicant being admitted over a white with the same grades and MCAT scores were nearly 30-to-1. At the State University of New York, Brooklyn, the odds were nearly 23-to-1 in 1996 and were 9-to-1 in 1999.

At the University of Maryland in 1999, they were 21-to-1, and at the University of Georgia in 1996, they were 19-to-1. At Michigan State University College of Human Medicine they were 12-to-1 in 1997 and 14-to-1 in 1999 (Chavez). What the Center of Equal Opportunity found was that these students who are let in based on race cant pass there licensing exams. More of the black medical students could not pass there first licensing exams than white and Asian students, and a lot of the black students couldnt even pass their licensing tests.

More than 3,500 white and Asian students were not admitted to the schools CEO studied, despite having better grades and test scores than black and Hispanic applicants who were given preferential treatment (Chavez). Would these white and Asian students have passed their licensing exams? I believe they would have. MCAT scores and grades are a good reference to how well a medical student will do, but if they are denied the chance based on race this is wrong. This denies Americans to access to well-qualified doctors. This trend will occur at the University of Michigan if this reverse racism isnt stopped.

The universitys reputation of high academics will decline if they keep admitting less qualified students. Any discussion of affirmative action should begin with the Fourteenth Amendment: No state shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws (Lowery). The university is going against this amendment all the way in their admission policies. Admitting a student who is less qualified just because they are a minority is wrong. The University of Michigan is racist and should accept the students with the best grades and ACT scores no matter what race they are.

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