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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Sunday, December 15, 2002
11:06 PM

Let's overlook the spelling error in today's Op-Ed by University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman because it could have been a copy editor (that's affect, folks, not effect). Coleman defends affirmative action as the Supreme Court approaches two race-discrimination cases brought against that school.

The educational environment we enjoy does not just happen. It comes in part from well-considered admissions practices designed to foster an atmosphere in which old habits of thought are challenged and new questions continually come at us, forcing us to reexamine what we thought we knew well.

More than 50 years of changes in higher education have taught us that the more diverse the academic environment, the more vigorous its discussions...

Coleman is saying this at a time when intellectual diversity on campus is an endangered species, particularly under multicult-obsessed administrations, as shown by credible surveys on the overwhelming liberal tilt of academia and the witch hunts against students and teachers who challenge the status quo. Newspapers are stolen, conservatives are labeled bigots, student organizations that are explicitly Christian are shunned or denied read PostWatch, and, you know the deal.

Recognizing the educational benefits of diversity does not mean that we equate a person's race with a particular point of view. There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction among students from different backgrounds. It is the most powerful educational tool we know to break down stereotypes and overcome assumptions. It helps students see commonalities across racial lines and acknowledge differences within racial groups.

But schools and leftist leaders equate a person's race (or gender) with a particular point of view all the time, which is why Mary Daly was permitted for years to exclude young men from her classes, why Clarence Thomas is branded as a race traitor because of his political philosophy, etc. etc.....

As a scientist, I have observed personally the enormous impact a growth in diversity has had on the sciences. Just think of what a difference it has made in our understanding of disease. Only as the ranks of leading scientists included more women did we focus on some of the serious health problems facing women, including heart disease and breast cancer.

Women's life expectancy started overtaking men's in the U.S. around the first decade of the last century.I'll get back to you on how many female researchers there were back then...

Now is not the time to turn back the clock on decades of progress in higher education. There is no effective substitute for the consideration of race as one of many factors in our admissions process.

Just one tiny factor that, in one of the Michigan cases before the court, gave black students with comparable academic records hundreds of times a better chance of getting admitted than comparable whites. Hundreds. Hundreds.

Other methods do not allow us to recruit a diverse student body while maintaining our consistently high academic standards.

But Coleman, you're using these black students to fulfill your vision and then throwing them away when they can't graduate. It's been show repeatedly that when students with tough backgrounds or a lousy secondary education attend a second-tier university that fits them, more of them get a degree and get a better start in life.

Our society is more diverse today, yet more segregated along racial lines in many ways than at any time since the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954

Yes--in some areas--and thanks to the Cult of Multi we have those lovely black student-union dorms, and others for Latinos, and others for still other fragmented identities...Nice work, can't wait to see what you have in mind for the next century.

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