Phi Beta Cons

CEO vs. UM

The University of Michigan is trying to trash the Center for Equal Opportunity’s new study of its admissions policy. No wonder: It’s a devastating analysis of a color-coded process. This afternoon, CEO issued this press release:

Center for Equal Opportunity Responds to University of Michigan
New Studies Document Racial Preferences in Undergrad, Law, and Med School Admissions
(Sterling, VA) Three studies released today by the Center for Equal Opportunity document evidence of severe discrimination based on race and ethnicity in undergraduate, law, and medical school admissions at the University of Michigan. 
U-M spokeswoman Julie Peterson said in a statement: “It is no coincidence that CEO has released this report in the weeks leading up to a ballot proposal that would outlaw public affirmative action in the state of Michigan.”
CEO Chairman Linda Chavez responded: “If the University of Michigan is unhappy with the timing of these studies, it has only itself to blame for taking eight months to supply us with the data.  We would have liked to have released these studies much earlier. Unfortunately, the University of Michigan did not respond to our Freedom-of-Information request—which we filed in late 2005—until late this summer. We received no undergraduate data until this August. After we finally received the data, we prepared the studies as fast as we could, and they have been released in plenty of time for U-M to respond.”
University of Michigan spokeswoman Julie Peterson was quoted in the Detroit News saying that the university does consider racial makeup of its campus, but that the Center for Equal Opportunity studies don’t take into account academic essays, teacher recommendations or extracurricular activities. “No top university admits students solely on the basis of grades and test scores,” U-M spokeswoman Peterson said. “We consider many factors in order to admit a group of students who have diverse talents.”
CEO president Roger Clegg responded: “Is the University of Michigan suggesting that the weight it gives to application essays, for instance, is anywhere near the weight given to high school grades and SATs? We didn’t think so. Is U-M suggesting that the huge of amount of preference being given to African Americans is not because of their race, but because they consistently write essays that are far superior to those written by white and Asian students? We didn’t think so.”
The Center for Equal Opportunity is a nonprofit research and educational organization that studies issues related to civil rights, bilingual education, and immigration and assimilation nationwide.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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