The Best of Our Knowledge
4:50 am
Mon February 5, 2007

The Best of Our Knowledge # 855

Albany, NY – YOUTH MEDIA PROJECT/STUDENT TOWN MEETINGS, Pt. 1 of 2
ALMOST 30 YEARS AFTER THE BAKKE DECISION, SO WE STILL NEED AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION POLICY IN THE UNITED STATES? -
Michigan again promises to be the focus of legal maneuvering over
affirmative action. This comes as a result of recent passage of a state
ballot proposal that bans public colleges from using preferences to
promote diversity. The measure, known as the Michigan Civil Rights
Initiative, amended the Michigan Constitution to prohibit state agencies
and institutions from operating affirmative action programs that grant
preferences based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, or gender.
Its approval by voters came just three years after the U.S. Supreme
Court upheld the consideration of race in college admissions in another
landmark case involving the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Similar measures were adopted by California in 1996, and by Washington state
in 1998. The University of Michigan joined Michigan State and Wayne
State Universities asking the federal courts to let them complete their
current admissions cycles without complying with the ban. But a federal
district court decision to grant such a delay was overturned by the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. While that decision is now being
appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the University of Michigan has
decided to go ahead and resume admissions and follow the current law
in order to enroll a class of students by next fall. At least two other cases
are also in the news. Just over a month ago, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of using race as a tool in assigning
students to public schools. In those cases, advocates on both sides claim
to be defending the legacy of the Brown v. Board of Education decision
more than half a century ago. These are just some of the more recent
examples of how the country remains undecided about affirmative action.
So during this Black History Month, we're broadcasting a panel discussion featuring students and educators debating the many issues surrounding
this troubling topic.
Glenn Busby reports. (9:22)

**(Attention Program Directors. The website given at the conclusion of
the above story for listeners interested in finding out more about the
Youth Media Project is: www.wamcstudenttownmeetings.org)**

GUEST COMMENTARY
DON'T GET HOOKED ON THE HORNS OF THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION DILEMMA -
As we heard in our first story, the affirmative action landscape in the
U.S. continues to vary. How can schools and administrators adapt to
all these changes? Jim Castagnera is an Associate Provost and Legal
Counsel at Rider University in New Jersey. Castagnera is also a
columnist with the Greentree Gazette online business magazine for
higher education. He shares his thoughts on these multi-faceted issues.
Jim Castagnera comments. (2:30)

FRENCH INSTITUTE OF POLITICAL STUDIES RECRUITS MINORITIES -
Affirmative action is not unique to the United States. Schools in France
are also now trying to increase efforts to recruit minorities. During the
recent minority rebellion that erupted causing more than one-quarter
billion dollars of arson damage in Paris and France's suburbs, affirmative action...or as some in France call it, positive discrimination'...were phrases
no French politician would dare speak. Yet, despite France's value-system
of absolute equality, there are no African faces in their parliament. Only
one non-white anchor on television, and very few minority business leaders. Frances most prestigious university, the Institute of Political Studies,
decided it was time to change the white upperclass profile of its student
body and reach out to the less fortunate.
Frank Browning reports from Radio Netherlands. (5:23)