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Defending Diversity

Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan

Patricia Gurin

Publication Year: 2010

Even as lawsuits challenging its admissions policies made their way through the courts, the University of Michigan carried the torch for affirmative action in higher education. In June 2003, the Supreme Court vindicated UM's position on affirmative action when it ruled that race may be used as a factor for universities in their admissions programs, thus confirming what the UM had argued all along: diversity in the classroom translates to a beneficial and wide-ranging social value. With the green light given to the law school's admissions policies, Defending Diversity validates the positive benefits gained by students in a diverse educational setting. Written by prominent University of Michigan faculty, Defending Diversity is a timely response to the court's ruling. Providing factual background, historical setting, and the psychosocial implications of affirmative action, the book illuminates the many benefits of a diverse higher educational setting -- including preparing students to be full participants in a pluralistic democracy -- and demonstrates why affirmative action is necessary to achieve that diversity. Defending Diversity is a significant contribution to the ongoing discussion on affirmative action in higher education. Perhaps more important, it is a valuable record of the history, events, arguments, and issues surrounding the original lawsuits and the Supreme Court's subsequent ruling, and helps reclaim the debate from those forces opposed to affirmative action. Patricia Gurin is Professor Emerita, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan. Jeffrey S. Lehman, former Dean of the University of Michigan Law School, is President of Cornell University. Earl Lewis is Dean of Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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Title Page and Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-16

The need to defend diversity came naturally and appropriately to the gates of the University of Michigan on October 14, 1997, when the papers for Grutter v. Bollinger were served, challenging affirmative action in undergraduate admissions. A second suit, Grutter v. Bollinger, was filed December 3, 1997, ...

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Why History Remains a Factor in the Search for Racial Equality

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pp. 17-60

The conversation began innocently enough. “So how do you think of yourself?” we asked. A light-skinned child of six, the product of an interracial marriage, she without hesitation responded, “I am black, African American.” “Why?” came the question from both parents’ mouths even before we realized the consequences or implications of what we had just asked. ...

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The Evolving Language of Diversity and Integration in Discussions of Affirmative Action from Bakke to Grutter

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pp. 61-96

In December 1997, Barbara Grutter brought a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the University of Michigan Law School’s admissions policy. In June 2003 the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, definitively rejecting that challenge. ...

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The Educational Value of Diversity

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pp. 97-188

This young woman from a small town values her experiences with students from diverse backgrounds because they have changed her world. Her experience reflects the evidence in the social science research provided the courts in the cases testing the University of Michigan’s use of race as a factor in admission. ...

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pp. 189-196

The decisions of the Supreme Court in the cases involving affirmative action in admissions at the University of Michigan have provided us with the guidance that higher education has been seeking for decades, namely, a well-structured road map that permits all colleges and universities to create policies of affirmative action ...


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pp. 197-208

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pp. 209-212

Nancy Cantor is Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Michigan when the affirmative action lawsuits were filed and was deeply involved in organizing the social science defense in those cases. ...


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pp. 213-218

E-ISBN-13: 9780472026494
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472113071

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 642208210
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Defending Diversity

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Subject Headings

  • Universities and colleges -- United States -- Admission
  • Minority college students -- Recruiting -- United States.
  • Affirmative action programs -- United States.
  • Universities and colleges -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor -- Admission.
  • Universities and colleges -- Admission -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • University of Michigan -- Admission.
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