April 1, 2003

Students Rally for Affirmative Action

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With the future of affirmative action under review, approximately 90 University students and staff members are joining thousands of individuals in Washington, D.C. today to march in support of the University of Michigan Law School admissions program.

Arguments in the Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger cases, which contest the University of Michigan’s race-conscious admissions policies, will be heard starting this morning by the Supreme Court.

During the proceedings, students from across the nation will be outside the courthouse rallying for affirmative action during the “Civil Rights March to the Supreme Court.” In the early afternoon, the rally will move to the Lincoln Memorial. Speeches will be given at both venues.

“It’s going to be two rallies in one,” said Jessica Lorenzo ’04, program assistant at the Latino Living Center (LLC).

Speakers at the rally will include Rev. Jesse Jackson, Kweisi Mfume, president and CEO of the NAACP and Funa Maduka ’04, president of the Ivy Student Affirmative Action Coalition (ISAAC).

The march is primarily organized by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary. Because of the enormous influx of high school and college students who are attending the event, Maduka expects the turnout to be in the “upper thousands.”

Many organizations, unions and student associations across the nation, including the National Organization for Women, United Automobile Workers and a group called the Angry White Guys for Affirmative Action, are endorsers of the event.

After learning about the march at a University of Michigan conference in January, Maduka and Carl Jones ’03 decided to gauge interest within the University. Maduka sent e-mails to students and staff to find out how many people were interested.

Additionally, Maduka informed ISAAC, a group consisting of approximately 600 students from various Ivy League schools, about the trip.

Other organizations such as the LLC were involved. Lorenzo said that a Jan. 31 Caf