Evidence Defeats Opponents of Michigan Racial Preferences Ban

  • Press_Release
  • April 07, 2008

221 Witherspoon Street, 2nd Floor • Princeton, NJ  08542-3215
phone: 609-683-7878 • fax: 609-683-0316
web: www.nas.org  •  email: [email protected]

Press Release
April 7, 2008
Contact: Stephen H. Balch, President
(609) 683-7878


Evidence Defeats Opponents of Michigan Racial Preferences Ban

PRINCETON, NJ—NAS today posted an article that revealed the hitherto untold story behind the now frozen efforts of BAMN and others to strike down the constitutional amendment banning racial preferences, which was approved by Michigan’s voters in 2006.

The article, by Terry Pell of the Center for Individual Rights, reinforces NAS’s stance that racial preferences in higher education only hurt the students they are intended to benefit. But even more importantly, it underscores the refusal of many educators to be truthful when confronted with the facts.

Since the new amendment passed, Michigan college presidents and BAMN, (By Any Means Necessary), a pro-preference advocacy group, have raised arguments and a lawsuit against it. Federal District Court Judge David Lawson lent a sympathetic ear, stalling the amendment’s enforcement while allowing its opponents to gather pre-trial evidence against it.

But this strategy was dealt a stunning blow when pre-trial discovery proved just the opposite of what the amendment’s opponents had hoped: UCLA law professor Richard Sander found convincing evidence that the University of Michigan’s preferences “were extreme and directly harmed the academic prospects of minority students.”

Sander’s research also raised doubts about sworn testimony made by a UM expert during the trial in Grutter v. Bollinger, claiming that there was only a small difference between white and minority UM law school graduates in passing the bar exam. Since the statement was made in 2001, and Sander’s findings that “minority students at the UM Law School failed the bar at more than eight times the rate of white students” applied to the years 2004-2006, Sander requested additional data from UM. He was refused.

Clearly a dangerously substantial case against racial preferences was emerging. In March 2008, Judge Lawson delivered a decision that ended further discovery and the possibility of a trial.

“Sander’s research,” said NAS president Steve Balch, “confirms NAS’s conviction that legitimate research on racial preferences will lead to irrefutable evidence of their injuriousness.”

The National Association of Scholars is America’s foremost higher education reform group.  Located in Princeton, NJ, it has forty-six state affiliates and more than four thousand professors, graduate students, administrators, and trustees as members. 



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