What Will Proposal 2 Mean for Michigan?

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

In just 45 days, Proposal 2 becomes part of the state constitution.

But Harold Core of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights says the state really can't say what programs will be affected. "At this point, I can't say that I do know," he said. "Not specifically right now."

The 'yes' vote means the constitution will now include a ban on racial preferences in state hiring, state contracting and university admissions.

Despite questions about its impact, there is one thing most everyone agrees on: "The real effect initially will be lawsuits," Bill Rustem of Public Sector Consultants said. "To try and determine what the language means, what the voters meant when they approved the language."

The lawsuits would likely target, among other things, university admissions policies. For their part, universities will likely continue current policies that do take into account a potential student's race or ethnicity.

"We have a holistic approach. Many things are considered in our admissions process," Michigan State University Spokesman Terry Denbow said.

Denbow says the 'yes' vote won't change the university's values, including diversity and inclusion. The university is assessing the decision, much as the state is.

"Some programs will be looked at in the next three weeks," Core said.

Political experts say the kind of programs that come into question go beyond ones focused on affirmative action.

"Can you have clinics that offer programming especially for females?" Rustem asked. "Is that discriminating against males?"

Those are questions Rustem expects to be answered by the Michigan Supreme Court in a court battle that, if other states are any indication, could go on for years.


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