Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Women's Groups Speak out against Michigan 2006 Affirmative Action Measure: Ward Connerly Main Financial Backer in Anti-Affirmative Action Effort

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Women's Groups Speak out against Michigan 2006 Affirmative Action Measure: Ward Connerly Main Financial Backer in Anti-Affirmative Action Effort

Article excerpt

LANSING, MICH.

Women's groups in late August launched a two-year campaign to defeat a planned 2006 ballot initiative that would ban affirmative action in government hiring and college admissions in Michigan. The group's leaders said women--not just ethnic and racial minorities--would be hurt by the measure.

"It's not broken," Roni Weaver, president of Michigan Business and Professional Women, said of Michigan's current law. "It's fair, it works. Leave it alone."

The groups--including the National Association of Women Business Owners, American Association of University Women and Michigan Women's Commission--said the initiative would undermine societal advancements and make the state's work force less diverse. They plan to host a summit next March to focus on the importance of affirmative action for women.

The groups held a news conference in Kalamazoo and made their announcement on Women's Equality Day, the anniversary of the day in 1929 the 19th Amendment was officially certified. The amendment gave women the right to vote.

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which is gathering petition signatures to put the anti-affirmative action measure on the ballot, decided in June to scuttle its efforts to get on the November ballot and instead focus on 2006.

The initiative would prevent public agencies, universities or colleges from granting preferential treatment based on race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

It's opposed by several groups including Citizens for a United Michigan, which consists of business and community leaders who support affirmative action and have fought to keep the issue off this fall's ballot.

The petition effort comes after the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision last June ruled that the University of Michigan Law School could consider race to create a diverse population. …

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