The Legal Battle Over the So-Called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative Continues

This November voters in Michigan are scheduled to vote on the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. The public referendum would outlaw the use of race in admissions procedures at the University of Michigan and other state-run colleges and universities.

But the Michigan Civil Rights Commission is now claiming that the petition signature drive was based on a “massive campaign of fraud and deceit.” The commission is asking the Michigan Supreme Court to reconsider its order for the initiative to be placed on the November ballot.

The commission found that many of the canvassers told black voters that the initiative actually was a measure that supported affirmative action in higher education. Two Michigan circuit court judges and the mayor of a large city in Michigan testified that they were duped into signing the petition after being told the referendum supported race-sensitive admissions.

Organizers of the referendum effort vehemently deny any wrongdoing. They note that the commission produced only 75 affidavits, many from left-leaning political activists, claiming that they had been duped into signing the petitions. But the organizers point out that they collected nearly 200,000 signatures more than were required to get the referendum on the ballot.

It seems unlikely at this time that the Michigan Supreme Court will reverse its decision and pull the referendum off the November ballot. Therefore, it is imperative that Michigan's educational leaders, both black and white, launch an all-out effort to teach voters about the repercussions the measure will have on black educational opportunities in Michigan.