Right-Wing Group Seeks to Sway the Vote on Banning Race-Sensitive Admissions at the University of Michigan

The Center for Equal Opportunity, the right-wing public interest group which led the fight against affirmative action in higher education, has released a new report on admissions at the University of Michigan. The Center used the state’s Freedom of Information Act to secure admissions data from the university. The data shows that the median SAT score for black students admitted to the University of Michigan in 2005 was 1160. This was 190 points below the median score of admitted white students. The average black score was 100 points below the median score of Hispanic students admitted to the university.

The data also shows that the median grade point average for admitted black students was 3.4 compared to a mean GPA of 3.9 for whites. The study concluded that a black student with a 1240 score on the SAT and a 3.2 GPA had a 90 percent chance of being admitted. For a white student with identical grades and test scores, the odds of admission were 1 in 10.

The report was released just before Michigan voters are to vote on a public referendum that would ban use of race-sensitive admissions at all state-operated universities in Michigan. Clearly the report was timed to generate backlash among Michigan’s white voters. Critics of the report said that the statistics were meaningless because they failed to take into account economic background.

Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, threatened that if Michigan voters did not pass the referendum banning race-sensitive admissions, the group’s data could fuel a lawsuit against the university for going beyond the Supreme Court’s definition of “narrowly tailored” affirmative action.