Ban on Affirmative Action Likely to Have a Devastating Impact on Black Admissions to the Law School at the University of Michigan

After voters approved Proposal 2 in Michigan this past November, the University of Michigan was obliged to eliminate the use of race in its admissions programs for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Preliminary statistics for this fall’s entering class at the undergraduate level show that black enrollments will hold steady under the new system.

At the University of Michigan Law School, the number of blacks in the first-year class is also expected to be very similar to last year’s entering class. But a closer look at the numbers shows that there is cause for major concern.

The University of Michigan Law School uses a year-round rolling admissions policy. Prior to the ban on affirmative action, which went into effect in late December, of the 396 applications received by minority students, 157, or 39.6 percent, were admitted. After the affirmative action ban became law, the school received 476 applications from minority students. Only 26, or 5.5 percent, were accepted. Admissions officials say that the statistics are somewhat misleading because they encouraged many minority students to apply early last year because of the uncertainty of the outcome on Proposal 2.

However, the numbers portend huge drops in black first-year enrollments next year when the affirmative action ban will be in effect for all applicants.