Perhaps some seem to think so..
The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative paragraph (4) is essentially language that allows an agency of government to continue bias practices, otherwise called “diversity”, that supposedly were made illegal by the voters in 2006 with an amendment to the state’s constitution.
The entire Amendment here:
§ 26 Affirmative action programs.
(1) The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and any other public college or university, community college, or school district shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
(2) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
(3) For the purposes of this section “state” includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the state itself, any city, county, any public college, university, or community college, school district, or other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the State of Michigan not included in sub-section 1.
(4) This section does not prohibit action that must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, if ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex that are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
(6) The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party’s race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of Michigan anti-discrimination law.
(7) This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with the United States Constitution or federal law, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that the United States Constitution and federal law permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.
(8) This section applies only to action taken after the effective date of this section.
(9) This section does not invalidate any court order or consent decree that is in force as of the effective date of this section.
History: Add. Init., approved Nov. 7, 2006, Eff. Dec. 23, 2006
There were some college administrators who buzzed onto this paragraph (4) like flies on manure, not even attempting to veil their intentions of preferential treatment based on the color of a persons skin. Former Central Michigan University president Rau’s administration published a statement indicating “diversity was alive and well..
Consistent with the leadership provided by President Rao and the Board of Trustees, Central Michigan University will continue to work to identify, recruit, hire and retain faculty and staff who represent diversity. CMU understands that diversity is essential to the academic mission of the institution and adds vitality and rigor to the academic experience. Accordingly, in the wake of Proposal 2, Central Michigan University will increase its efforts to expand diversity within the university community and will expect all university search committees and hiring managers to work diligently to achieve increased campus diversity.
So instead of complying with the state constitution, the will of the people, and the LAW, the university had determined its best bet was to continue discriminatory practices and in fact INCREASE THOSE DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES?
The legal hat rack the leadership of CMU had hung its all too thin coif upon was an opinion by General Counsel Eileen Jennings:
The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, commonly referred to as “Proposal 2,” does not ban affirmative action. Although the new language in the Michigan Constitution added by passage of Proposal 2 is commonly referred to as banning “Affirmative Action”, this reference is inaccurate. The words “affirmative action” are not used in the constitutional amendment. The language prohibits discrimination and “preferential treatment.”
The term affirmative action has been used in different ways. Historically, affirmative action has referred to a broad range of policies and activities adopted in order to assure equal opportunity for all, including persons of color and women.
If, as General Counsel Jennings has asserted, Affirmative action is not “banned,” it has certainly been adjusted so that the statement of Rau’s to “expect all university search committees and hiring managers to work diligently to achieve increased campus diversity.” was inappropriate. In Jennings opinion, there was one mention of diversity, and it referenced advertising broadly to attract it, rather than specifically select those individuals to achieve it.
Further, if the CMU’s leadership is going to single out any prospective candidate for employment based on their contribution to “diversity,” what guidelines might they be using to determine that “diversity?” Certainly, there must be some standard the satisfies the need to promote such desires, and a transparent look at the intent would likely reveal a measure of skin pigment. Diversity cannot mean EVERYONE, or it would not have to be stated. It MUST represent an attempt at preferring a singular or range of persons based on particular criteria.
Add to this, the law is the law. You cannot grant preferential treatment based on “diversity.” The sections and intent of the MCRI are severable. This means as much will be in place that can be in place so long as it does not conflict with the other provisions. Each part carries its own weight. The exclusion of one provision does not disqualify any other part.
So now, Central Michigan University’s argument will most certainly fall to the federal funding that would be lost if it concedes to capitulation with Michigan’s constitutional law as written and ratified by the citizens of Michigan, a sovereign state as indicated by the 10th amendment to the US constitution. The argument then begs the ONLY solution that CMU hiring practices should include from this point forward…
For each hire given any measure of preferential treatment based on his or her “diverse” content, there must be demonstrated how federal funding would be lost with a standard hiring practice alternative.
In other words, if the university cannot demonstrate that the failure of applying a preference will lose federal funds, they cannot subject the hire to that standard without violating the law. Additionally, specific programs that CMU believes fall under section (4) should be identified publicly so as to further separate which areas can be affected by CMU’s policy, and which cannot legally. This will allow challenge and better examination of the intent of the board to dismiss the voters wishes.
Aside from the blatant disregard for Michigan Residents’ wishes with Central Michigan’s stated goals, people should truly consider the nature of the hiring practices in an institutional environment. If the intent is to gather persons to teach from a particular perspective, it is not altogether a bad idea. Experiences and lessons from all walks of life can add valuable insight to students who wish to have a broader world view, particularly if those lessons are presented in the proper context. (Social studies, anthropology, etc..)
However, if hiring is biased to be more diverse when there is no demonstrable (teachable, as it IS the purpose of the school) value of doing so, then it is simply immoral… And Illegal.
The word “diversity” has become too acquainted with racial preferences and balancing percentages of people of an institution. Rather than seek diversity of mind and experiences, the emphasis has been on that of nationality or the color of one’s skin. While CMU has dedicated a page written by a California “scholar,” (*Taken from “Refuting the Myths About Affirmative Action in the University of California,” March 1995 – See Bottom of this entry) a Page which actively attempts to debunk “diverse” opinion on the subject as “myth,” common sense will continue to prove Michigan residents know a little better than those who are “politically correct.”
Other information and sources below.
And if you can stand the “spin”
Myths and Truths of Affirmative action Referenced Above