|NO to Michigan
Racial Preferences! (09/18/02)
"I would respectfully observe that a substantial number of our students and our faculty do not find the defense of racially preferential admissions persuasive. Many loyal and dedicated members of our community, among whom I count myself, find every form of deliberate racial discrimination to be morally unacceptable. Preference on the basis of skin color has always been wrong, and is wrong still, and is not made right by worthy objectives.
"These preferences are also wrong because they violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to our Constitution, which provides that no state (including Michigan!) may deny to any person any single person the equal protection of the laws, which discriminatory admissions plainly do. And they are wrong because they are a manifest violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which unambiguously forbids institutions receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of race or color or nationality, which we [U. Michigan] admit that we do.
"Racially preferential admissions are also unwise and counterproductive for the minorities concerned and for the University. They do not unite the races but divide them; they engender resentment that cannot be openly expressed; they stigmatize all members of the preferred minorities most unfairly, and in all these ways set back the cause of racial harmony.
"I am deeply proud of the University of Michigan, and I am shamed, we are all shamed, by our knowing violation of our own formal commitment to a policy of non-discrimination, publicly and repeatedly proclaimed.
"Thank you for your good will." -- Carl Cohen
[Carl Cohen is Professor of Philosophy, LS&A and Residential College at the University of Michigan. He is an outspoken opponent of racial preferences, quotas, targets and goals. His most recent publication is Naked Racial Preferences (1995, by Marlboro Books).]
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