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Undermining Racial JusticeHow One University Embraced Inclusion and Inequality$
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Matthew Johnson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748585

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748585.001.0001

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The University as Victim

The University as Victim

Chapter:
(p.243) Epilogue The University as Victim
Source:
Undermining Racial Justice
Author(s):

Matthew Johnson

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501748585.003.0010

This epilogue details how, in 2006, Michigan voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution that banned affirmative action in public institutions. One way to read Proposal 2 is as the culmination of a conservative backlash to affirmative action at the University of Michigan (UM). There is no doubt that these anti-affirmative action efforts have made racial inclusion more difficult at UM. But UM officials have long crafted visions of inclusion that accommodated and defended racial inequality. Proposal 2 did not create racial disparities and a poor racial climate at UM—it simply exacerbated existing problems. In the wake of Proposal 2, black enrollment began to decline, and the racial climate worsened. Battles on campus since 2006 have revolved around the university's culpability in racial retrenchment. University officials have deployed racial innocence, blaming the constitutional amendment for any problems on campus. Black students, however, have tried to hold UM accountable for its part in the new era of retrenchment, despite Proposal 2.

Keywords:   affirmative action, Proposal 2, University of Michigan, racial inclusion, racial inequality, black enrollment, racial climate, racial retrenchment, constitutional amendment, black students

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