Black grad students file suit against U of Michigan

Recently, a group of Black graduate students at the University of Michigan filed a lawsuit against the University claiming the University aggressively recruits black students, but then discourages them from completing Ph.D. programs.

What complicates this situation is that the University of Michigan has been a fierce supporter of affirmative action programs in admissions and ranks among the best for the number of Ph.D.s granted to doctoral students. But does this record let the University off the hook if the said charges are potent and systemic?

Some say that this lawsuit proves that if you have race-based admissions then you must have race-based graduation while others say that this lawsuit is an example of a bait and switch and the University should be called to task. How would you handle this situation? What do you think are the potential far-reaching implications of this lawsuit?

Please stay tuned to Superspade as we work to bring you exclusive access to the people and ideas that inspired this lawsuit.

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One response to “Black grad students file suit against U of Michigan”

  1. Chetly Zarko says :

    I look forward to your bringing exclusive access to the people behind this complaint (by the way, it was not a lawsuit, but is a complaint filed through the Department of Education’s civil rights complaint process).

    I am the former Dir. of Media Relations with MCRI, so my bias and position on the issue of race-based admissions should be clear, but I believe the dichotomy you pose isn’t a correct one. You write:

    Some say that this lawsuit proves that if you have race-based admissions then you must have race-based graduation while others say that this lawsuit is an example of a bait and switch and the University should be called to task.

    That is, both positions are right. First, regardless of whether one supports or opposes race preferences in admissions, if the specific allegations are correct, then U-M should “be called to task” for its fraud, bait and switch, and failure to follow through. I’ve written about how internal U-M officials admit that undergraduate minority admittees are inadequately supported (Michigan Bar Journal, May 2003, where an African American U-M law professor chastises U-M president in an email, see my website), and how this cascades throughout the system.

    It raises the obvious contradiction for preference supporters — U-M says that preferred admittees are equally “qualified” but then it doesn’t treat them that way.

    Of course, I believe it also proves that race-based admissions can’t work without an impossible never-ending system of preferences following them. The real solution is not race-based admissions, it is fixing underperforming K-12 schools (regardless of race), which are indeed predominantly (but not solely) harming minorities. I see racial admissions as the ultimate distraction from those real solutions – and hence the ultimate reason to do away with them is to remove the failed solution so other, better solutions can arise. I believe there is a quiet bi-partisan consensus that recognizes this truth, and that we should take the opportunity now to really address these problems rather than covering them with the artificial allure of contrived diversity.

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