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Student Group Vows to Defeat Anti-Affirmative Action Ballot Proposal

Student Group Vows to Defeat Anti-Affirmative Action Ballot Proposal

A student activist group is organizing a national boycott to defeat Ward Connerly’s proposed anti-affirmative action ballot initiative in Michigan.

The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (BAMN) is calling for a boycott of all corporations and institutions who financially support Connerly’s ballot proposal.
After suffering a defeat at the U.S. Supreme Court, Connerly, who led the anti-affirmative action campaigns in California and Washington State, and a group of supporters are seeking to overturn the Supreme Court’s recent pro-affirmative action decision by taking the matter to Michigan voters. Connerly announced his plans on the campus of the University of Michigan earlier this month.
“This campaign that we wage is not about ending affirmative action. It is about ending preferences on the basis of race,” Connerly told the crowd on the Ann Arbor campus.
Dozens of affirmative action supporters turned out to protest Connerly’s announcement and vowed to fight the effort.
“Acting now is the key to victory,” says Shanta Driver, the national spokeswoman for BAMN. “We can defeat Ward Connerly’s anti-affirmative action ballot proposition before it ever gets off the ground, but only if we act decisively now.”
Those businesses, institutions and individuals that support Connerly will face a consumer boycott and pickets organized by the “youth of the new civil rights movement,” according to Driver.
BAMN is also calling for the University of California regents to demand Connerly’s resignation.
“Ward Connerly has used his position as a regent in the largest and most renowned public university system in the nation to attack access to higher education for minorities. (He) must no longer be allowed to use the University of California name for his crusade against civil rights,” says Agnes Aleobua, BAMN student leader at the University of Michigan.
Connerly was instrumental in getting a majority of board members at the University of California to ban the use of race in the school’s admissions policy in 1995. That year, he also headed the California Civil Rights Initiative to ban race preferences in public employment, education and contracting.
Organizers intend to tailor the Michigan initiative after the one in California. They have not yet come up with ballot language, but want to get enough signatures to offer it as a constitutional amendment in November 2004.
Washington voters in 1998 passed a similar ballot proposal called Initiative Measure 200, which overturned the race-conscious admissions policies at the University of Washington Law School.
In a recent poll of African American voters commissioned by Black America’s Political Action Committee (BAMPAC), 65 percent stated that affirmative action is good in principle but needs to be reformed. Only 18 percent of African Americans expressed support for affirmative policies in their current form. The poll was conducted last month among 1,800 African American registered voters via telephone and the Internet.  
— Associated Press and news releases


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