Original URL: http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/opinion/9383.php
Arizona Daily Star
The University of Michigan lost more than a court case when
the Supreme Court struck down its undergraduate admissions policies. This week
it became clear that the school is losing the minority students it fought so
hard to keep.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the school's admissions system that
awarded extra points to some applicants. However, the court ruled that race can
be a factor in admitting students.
Since then, the number of minority applicants has dropped by 23 percent. Worse,
the numbers of minorities admitted has slipped by 30 percent. In the meantime,
the number of applicants to the school has dropped by only 1 percent.
A story in the Detroit Free Press said that at Ohio State University, overall
numbers of applications have dropped by 8.5 percent. However, the numbers of
applications from blacks have dropped by 18.6 percent.
Michigan admissions officials say the significant drops are the "chilling
effect" from the Supreme Court ruling.
What may be worse than the dismantling of Michigan's touted commitment to
diversity is that the figure may represent a nationwide drop in the number of
If so, the lawsuits and subsequent Supreme Court ruling have had the effect of
marginalizing already underrepresented groups of people in higher education.
The University of Michigan, before and after the ruling, had a firm commitment
to the education of minorities. That commitment was visible even on a short walk
But now, potential students are interpreting the Supreme Court ruling as
unfavorable. That is not an unreasonable analysis. "There is a feeling that even
if they have a chance, they don't want to put up with the hassle. We may need
more time to work with the schools to explain the process," said Ted Spencer,
UM's director of admissions.
The tragedy in all this is that at a time when universities are trying to get
minorities into schools, those minorities are staying away. The message, they
fear, is that they are not welcome.
What's more, excluding minorities from higher education does not bode well for
the future of the country.
One of the reasons that universities are making a push to educate minorities is
the growing presence of minorities in the American population.
It makes no sense to deny education to minorities, who traditionally have been
underrepresented on America's college campuses. Just as America is undergoing
growing income gaps, the lack of educational opportunities for minorities
threaten to create a growing racial divide as well.