RALEIGH – As a member of the University of California Board of Regents, Ward Connerly experienced pressure to increase diversity on the campuses of the university system. After a 12-year term that ended in 2005, he still doesn’t know what the system was seeking.
“There was a lot of mindless blather about celebrating diversity,” Connerly said about his period on the board. “When I left, I didn’t know more about diversity. I asked a lot of questions. I could never get an answer that made sense to me.”
Connerly was the keynote speaker at the recent Pope Center Conference on “Diversity: How Much and What Kinds Do Universities Need?” held in Raleigh at the Brownstone Inn. As a regent, Connerly successfully fought for the elimination of race-based admission practices at the University of California. He also led a successful statewide campaign in 1996 to adopt Proposition 209, which prevented the state government from giving preferential treatment based on race. Today he is supporting a similar initiative in Michigan.
Conservatives willing to brave the touchy-feely miasma of the Supreme Court’s recent decision of Grutter v. Bollinger, which allows universities to consider race in admissions as an element of diversity, should be heartened by the ruling, flawed as it is. Here’s why.
Dear UNC-Wilmington Students:
For years, my well-known opposition to affirmative action has been a source of great controversy across our campus, particularly among UNCW faculty. Many have assumed that my position on this topic has been a function of personal prejudice or “insensitivity” to the needs of various “disenfranchised” groups on campus and in society in general. In reality, my opposition to affirmative action has been based on personal experience.
All eyes are on Michigan now, thanks to a case before the Supreme Court involving the University of Michigan Law Schools’ use of racial preferences in admissions decisions. It is a case being watched with extreme interest by N.C. higher-education officials , public and private.
The litigation over race-based admissions policies is probably the most important case the Supreme Court will decide in its current term. Those who think that it’s somehow progress for government institutions to treat classes of individuals differently because of their ancestry are pulling out all the stops to defend race-based admissions policies, including an intellectually dishonest argument that diversity enhances education and cries that the sky will fall if schools like the University of Michigan can’t stack the deck in favor of applicants in certain groups. Here are a few thoughts on this momentous case.
By next June the nation’s highest court could finally issue a much-needed clarification of the constitutionality of using racial considerations in college admissions decisions. The Supreme Court took up two cases in which white applicants argued that their applications to the University of Michigan and its law school were turned down because of their race.
He was held up as the poster boy of racial preferences in the fight against California’s Proposition 209, the ballot initiative outlawing preferences passed overwhelmingly in 1996. An ardent defender of preferences, in 1995 he was profiled as their best defense in the pages of The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.
Racial and ethnic preferences in admissions and scholarships at Virginia state public universities can no longer be justified on the basis of remedying past discrimination, according to a memorandum from the office of Virginia Attorney General.