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May 12, 2004

Affirmative Action Debate
 

When local college and university presidents pledged two years ago to work together to overcome racism and foster reconciliation on their campuses, and in West Michigan, they knew challenges to their pledge would arise.

But they were determined to face those challenges head-on.

That's why they are hosting, on May 24 at Calvin College, a panel discussion on affirmative action.

The presidents of Aquinas, Calvin, Cornerstone, Davenport, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley and Reformed Bible College have joined with colleagues at Hope, Ferris State and Western Michigan University, as well as Cooley Law School, now that it has a Grand Rapids campus, to organize the upcoming event.

They say it will provide a balanced look at a critical issue for their schools and for Michigan voters.

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative has proposed amending the state constitution to prohibit the University of Michigan and other state universities, as well as the state and all other state entities, from discriminating or granting preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

So, to be addressed at the May 24 panel discussion will be such thorny questions as:

  • why is affirmative action such a huge issue in Michigan and nationally right now?
  • what is the meaning of the current affirmative action proposition?
  • how will this proposition affect me, my family, and my community?
  • how can I get fair and accurate information from both sides of this issue?

The event will feature panelists from both sides of the issue: the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (which is sponsoring the current proposal to ban affirmative action in Michigan through a constitutional amendment) and both Citizens for A United Michigan and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), both of which are opposed to the proposition.

The event will take place on May 24 from 9:45 am to 11:45 am at the Fine Arts Center at Calvin and is free and open to the public.

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-526-6475 (v)
616-526-7069 (f)
dehp@calvin.edu