NLT reader Gary Maxwell, a former Michigan resident, writes in support of the theory that we should not permit blatant discrimination to prevail if only to prevent more subtle discrimination. He notes that the true believers at Ann Arbor will find a way to meet their diversity goals, but suggests that any plan should be constitutional.
The proposition that any plan should comply with the constitution is one with which I surely agree. Most schools attempt to take the unconstitutional road, however. An example in this regard is the University of California. After the Regents voted to prohibit race-based preferences, the University began running a series of complex studies to determine what precise weighting of socio-economic factors would give the University the level of racial diversity they desired. For those who have a second’s hesitation as to whether or not this sort of facially neutral criteria implemented with discriminatory intent meets the requirements of equal protection, simply reverse the favored and non-favored groups. Thus, do you really think that a court would permit a school that had discriminated against Black students in the past to institute a new admissions system which did not overtly take race into account, but was designed with the express purpose of reaching the same racial composition as the prior overtly race-based system?