Education
5:48 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Will minority enrollment increase after federal court ruling?

On Thursday, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Michigan’s 2006 constitutional ban on affirmative action unconstitutional.

Some argue that the ruling will have a major impact on minority enrollment at the state’s public universities.

Monica Smith, a lawyer opposed to the affirmative action ban, began attending Wayne State Law School a year before it took effect, MLive reports.

The following year, the number of incoming black students was cut in half, Smith says.

She thinks this recent court ruling should transform the admissions process:

"This means a lot to me," said Smith. "This means that my brother, my cousins, other people in Detroit, the Latino and black students can go to Wayne State Law School and Medical School."

"I graduated from the University of Michigan. I graduated from Wayne State Law School. My brother graduated from Michigan State University. All because of affirmative action," she said. "I am 100 percent a product of affirmative action. Not because I'm not 100 percent qualified to be there. But because all three of those universities couldn't discriminate against me or my brother or other similarly situated people."

Despite yesterday’s victory, Smith and other opponents of the ban will have to wait before they see any significant changes.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, and university officials are wary of moving until they have received word from the higher court.

Rick Fitzgerald from the University of Michigan told the Detroit Free Press that it will take time to review the Sixth Circuit's decision:

“We do not intend to make any changes to our admissions processes until we have fully considered the decision and its ramifications, including the possibility that Supreme Court review will be sought.”

The majority opinion in yesterday's 8-7 decision ruled that the ban violated the requirements of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom