Yesterday on The Corner, picking up on a column by Linda Chavez, I wrote about an apparent act of deception by the University of Michigan in the affirmative action case currently before the Supreme Court. Michigan appears to have deliberately held back crucial data that contradicts and undermines the report on which it bases its claim that “diversity” is so important a plus for all students that reverse discrimination is justified. Jonathan Adler then, rightly, put up a post linking to Michigan’s denial of the charges. I have since contacted Curt Levey, the Director of Legal and Public Affairs at the Center for Individual Rights, which is sponsoring the plaintiffs in the Michigan case, to get his answer to Michigan’s denials.
According to Curt Levey, of the Center for Individual Rights, “The University of Michigan did provide the plaintiffs in the affirmative action lawsuits with an executive summary of its 1994 study that revealed the negative effects of achieving diversity through race-based admissions. However, the University refused the plaintiffs’ request for the data sets underlying the 1994 study and the related expert report of Michigan professor Patricia Gurin, which was submitted as evidence. Thus, the plaintiffs were denied an opportunity to do their own analysis of the data. But the larger point is this: Michigan based its national pro-affirmative action crusade on supposedly groundbreaking research proving the educational benefits of diversity. Yet the university never publicly disclosed the existence of its own contradictory research.”
So the upshot is that while the University of Michigan may not have technically violated the law, they have shown profound bad faith through a massive sin of omission. Their famous, controversial, and highly touted research report “proving” the benefits of diversity has been contradicted all along by their own internal research. Yet until Chetly Zarko brought the matter to public attention with his May 16 Wall Street Journal piece, Michigan succeeded in effectively burying the truth in an obscure and unpublicized legal document. The title of the important new analysis of the Michigan data by Robert Lerner and Althea Nagai tells the story, “Diversity Distorted: How the University of Michigan Ignored Inconvenient Data in Order to Sell Diversity to the Courts and the Public.” So I believe that my initial claim still stands. If the Supreme Court affirms Michigan’s affirmative action policies, even if no law has been broken, the decision will have been tainted.