MSU Reacts to Affirmative Action at U of M

By: Lori Jane Gliha
By: Lori Jane Gliha

A day after President Bush denounced the University of Michigan for its affirmative action admission practices, Michigan State University officials say race is not significant in determining who is accepted to MSU.

MSU representatives say diversity is essential at the university, but individuals are admitted based on a variety of factors including academics and test scores. They say a students' racial background is not significant, and the university does not have quotas.

Minorities make up about 16.4 percent of Michigan State University's undergraduate population.

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Origins of Affirmative Action

  • Affirmative Action is the set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

  • Originally, civil rights programs were enacted to help African Americans become full citizens of the United States.

  • In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 which outlawed segregationist hiring policies by defense-related industries which held federal contracts.

  • During 1953 President Harry S. Truman's Committee on Government Contract Compliance urged the Bureau of Employment Security "to act positively and affirmatively to implement the policy of nondiscrimination."

  • The actual phrase "affirmative action" was first used in President Lyndon Johnson's 1965 Executive Order 11246, which requires federal contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."

  • In 1967, Johnson expanded the Executive Order to include affirmative action requirements to benefit women.

  • Other equal protection laws passed to make discrimination illegal were the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title II and VII of which forbid racial discrimination in "public accommodations" and race and sex discrimination in employment.

  • The 1965 Voting Rights Act was adopted after Congress found "that racial discrimination in voting was an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of the country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution."

Source: http://www.now.org/nnt/08-95/affirmhs.html (The Origins of Affirmative Action Web site) contributed to this report.


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