Last week, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison uncovered a “representational equity” plan by administrators to seemingly pressure professors into adjusting grades based on students’ skin color.

 

The plan is based on an “Inclusive Excellence” document adopted by the Board of Regents, which calls for “proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades.”

 

UW has since denied any attempt to impose a racial quota system for the distribution of grades. However, its response was so full of meaningless “diversity” cliches that it is impossible to decipher its actual plan.

 

The idea that any university would encourage the use of race in determining classroom grades is outrageous, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. The University of Wisconsin has no problem making admissions decisions based on race, so why not apply the same discriminatory logic to grades?

 

The reality is that race preferences harm those they are designed to benefit — “targeted minorities” — by placing many in educational institutions that do not match their academic qualifications and preparation. This leads to lower average grades and much higher dropout rates. The new UW plan is simply an attempt to paper over the inconvenient consequences of its discriminatory admissions policies.

 

A similar diversity charade is happening in New York City, where Mayor de Blasio has announced plans to change the admissions process for the city’s nine highly-selective premier public high schools in order to produce a “better” racial balance. There are supposedly too many Asian students for the process to be fair.

 

This isn’t about real diversity. It’s about reducing individuals to superficial group identity and manufacturing politically correct statistics. Politicians and administrators get to feel good about themselves, while real people are harmed in the process.

 

The XIV Foundation is fighting for the day when every person is treated equally as a unique individual instead of a color.

 

Jennifer Gratz

July 15, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Glenn Landstrom

Phone: 517-643-5514

E-mail: glandstrom@xivfoundation.org

 

Fifth Circuit Upholds Race Preferences at University of Texas

Gratz Says Ruling Demonstrates Why SCOTUS Should Strike Down Grutter

 

NATIONAL – On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals once again upheld race-based affirmative action policies at the University of Texas in Fisher v. University of Texas. The Fifth Circuit’s previous ruling in this case was in question after a US Supreme Court decision in June 2013 that determined the lower court had not properly applied the Supreme Court’s “strict scrutiny” requirement to the racial policy at Texas’ flagship university.

 

Jennifer Gratz, CEO of the XIV Foundation, was not surprised by the outcome. “The Fifth Circuit ruled decidedly in favor of race-based policies before; it is not shocking to see them do so again,” she remarked. “This decision demonstrates the fundamental murkiness of the Grutter v. Bollinger allowance for nuanced uses of race in admissions.”

 

“In the Grutter dissent, Justice Ginsburg rightly pointed out that the Court was allowing racial preferences to continue with ‘winks, nods, and disguises.’ This has led universities to hide race-based decisions behind a supposedly holistic review process. In reality they are the same discriminatory policies with even less transparency. Citizens deserve to have clarity when it comes to whether or not universities are holding their skin color against them.”

 

Gratz was happy to hear that Abigail Fisher will appeal the decision. “Grutter has only muddied the water on these unsustainable policies, and, ironically, today’s Fisher decision leaves the door open for the Supreme Court to issue the broad ruling many pundits expected from its first hearing.”

 

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The XIV Foundation is dedicated to the principle that equal treatment is the essence of civil rights and that all people are entitled to civil rights. Jennifer Gratz challenged racial discrimination in the admissions policy at the University of Michigan and won at the U.S. Supreme Court (Gratz v. Bollinger). She spearheaded the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and is the co-founder and CEO of the XIV Foundation.

On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals once again voted to uphold race-based affirmative action policies at the University of Texas in Fisher v. University of Texas. The Fifth Circuit’s previous ruling in this case was in question after a US Supreme Court decision in June 2013 that determined the lower court had not properly applied the “strict scrutiny” requirement to the racial policy at Texas’ flagship university.

 

This outcome is not surprising in the least. The Fifth Circuit ruled decidedly in favor of race-based policies before; it is not shocking to see them do so again. This decision demonstrates the fundamental murkiness of the Grutter v. Bollinger allowance for “nuanced” uses of race in admissions.

 

In the Grutter dissent, Justice Ginsberg rightly pointed out that the Court was allowing racial preferences to continue with “winks, nods, and disguises.” This has led universities to hide race-based decisions behind a supposedly holistic review process. In reality they are the same discriminatory policies with even less transparency. Citizens deserve to have clarity when it comes to whether or not universities are holding their skin color against them.

 

Today’s appeals court ruling that universities may use race preferences confirms that race quotas are still prevalent but now employed under the new terminology of achieving a “critical mass” of minority students. Conveniently, the Fifth Circuit never defined what exactly constitutes this “critical mass.” (The ruling does not affect the eight states that have banned all use of public race preference policies.)

 

I am happy to hear that Abigail Fisher will appeal the decision. Grutter has only muddied the water on these unsustainable policies, and, ironically, today’s Fisher decision leaves the door open for the Supreme Court to issue the broad ruling many pundits expected from its first hearing.

 

Jennifer Gratz

July 10, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Glenn Landstrom

Phone: (517) 643-5514

E-mail: glandstrom@xivfoundation.org

 

University of Michigan Pays Libertarian Student Group to Settle Political Discrimination Lawsuit

 

ANN ARBOR, MI – The University of Michigan has settled a lawsuit brought by a student libertarian club after the University spent thousands supporting leftist campus groups while denying funding to campus conservative and libertarian clubs. The University agreed to pay the U-M Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) a sum of $5,000 plus attorney fees for denying the student group funding toward an event hosted by anti-affirmative action activist Jennifer Gratz.

 

Ms. Gratz spoke about the importance of intellectual diversity at the University last October. The student government denied YAL’s request for financial support of Gratz’s visit, citing a policy of not funding “political” events.  YAL filed suit when they discovered the student government had approved funding for a radical pro-affirmative action group’s bus trip to Washington DC to protest at the US Supreme Court in favor of affirmative action. The University funded multiple other “political” events in support of immigrant rights, Islamic groups, etc.

 

“Too few students have the courage to stand up for diversity of opinion and thought when bullied, intimidated, and silenced by zealous university officials intent on imposing their views,” Ms. Gratz stated in reaction to the settlement. “The YAL students at the University of Michigan refused to accept discrimination and stood up for their right to equal treatment. The University recognized they would lose in court and quietly settled the matter. The U of M YAL students truly are the ‘victors valiant’ for standing up for the rights of all students.”

 

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Jennifer Gratz is the CEO of the XIV Foundation, dedicated to the principle that equal treatment is the essence of civil rights and that all people are entitled to civil rights. Ms. Gratz challenged racial discrimination in the admissions policy at the University of Michigan and won at the U.S. Supreme Court (Gratz v. Bollinger). She also spearheaded the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

Have you been watching the World Cup this month? It’s been thrilling to see the US Men’s National Team advance to the elimination round.

 

But imagine if the US chose its players based on race and skin color instead of skill and ability. Would we praise the team for fostering diversity? Would we laud the efforts to boost traditionally disadvantaged groups? Would we excuse the results knowing that at least team selection was driven by “good intentions”? Would we demand that goals be worth more or less points based on the scorer’s skin tone?

 

Of course not. In competitive sports we recognize that team choices should be based on the skill and qualities of individuals, not the ability to satisfy an ethnic quota. This is beneficial to the performance of the team as well as to the competing individuals who are driven to improve themselves to make the cut.

 

Why is it any better when race-based decisions are made in competitive college admissions and employment? These policies diminish the quality of institutions by undermining individual character, merit, and achievement.

 

It’s long past time to end these discriminatory and harmful policies.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

When Pamela Swanigan applied for her doctorate at the University of Connecticut, she was told that, as the top candidate that year, she had received a prestigious merit-based scholarship. Instead, she was routed into the less prestigious “diversity” award solely because of her race — she is half black and half white.

 

Terry Pell and the Center for Individual Rights (CIR) filed a lawsuit on her behalf, arguing that students deserve to compete for scholarships based on merit, not to be pigeonholed because of race.

 

Ms. Swanigan says it best: “My goal is to ensure that students are treated as individuals regardless of race and regardless of other efforts to promote racial diversity. I wanted — and still want — to compete on the basis of my academic abilities just like any other student.”

 

I am personally very grateful for the work Terry Pell and the Center for Individual Rights have done to stand for true equality. CIR represented me in my lawsuit against the University of Michigan’s discriminatory race-based admission point system. We can always count on CIR to support equal treatment.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

Griffin Furlong lost his mother to leukemia when he was just 6 years old. Shortly after, he spent two years living in a homeless shelter with his father and brother. It wasn’t until the sixth grade that this family finally moved into a home, but money was scarce and they often went hungry.

 

Despite finding himself homeless again just a month ago, Griffin is graduating today as his high school’s valedictorian with an incredible 4.65 GPA. He plans to attend Florida State University to study civil engineering.

 

Griffin told reporters, “I try to accomplish everything I need to do. I know that I have everything to lose. So I just push myself. School is all I have, family is all I have. I am doing it all for me and what I have been through. I am doing it for my mom.”

 

What a remarkable example of a young person pushing himself to succeed in the face of tragedy and poverty! It is a reminder that skin color does not determine a person’s lot in life. We all have our own obstacles and opportunities that shape who we are as unique individuals.

 

Policies that sort based on skin color and treat people based on assumed need merely gloss over the surface and miss inspiring stories like this one.

 

No doubt this young man will one day hear that he is supposed to “check his privilege.” Hopefully his story will teach others about the pitfalls of making skin-deep judgments.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

Earlier this month, the Center for American Progress released a report which urged public schools to hire more “teachers of color” so that minority students benefit through having role models that look like themselves. On the flip side, this same report insisted that white students benefit from diversity by having teachers that look and act differently than they do.

 

Huh? This report actually argues that minority kids benefit more by having teachers that look like them but white kids benefit by having teachers that don’t look like them?

 

This story is another reminder that the debate about diversity is not only superficial but also is far too often a one-way street. Today’s conversation about “diversity” revolves around identity politics that treats people as representatives of homogeneous racial groups rather than as unique individuals.

 

Our conversation about diversity should lead us to appreciate the unique background, talents, interests, and opinions every individual brings to the table.

 

When diversity is reduced to counting skin color, something has gone terribly wrong.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

MTV recently conducted a survey which asked young people questions about their views on race and equality. The responses are remarkable.

 

When asked about race-based affirmative action:

  • 88% believe that favoring one race over another is unfair, because of their belief in equality.

  • 90% believe that everyone should be treated the same regardless of race.

  • 70% believe it’s never fair to give preferential treatment to one race over another, regardless of historical inequalities.

 

When asked about the principle of colorblindness:

  • 84% say their family taught them that everyone should be treated the same, no matter what their race.

  • 73% believe never considering race would improve society.

  • 68% believe focusing on race prevents society from becoming colorblind.

 

Young people recognize the plain contradiction between calling for equality and insisting that individuals be treated differently based on skin color. This is despite relentless indoctrination about the so-called merits of racial preferences.

 

Millennials are shaping up to be the least race-focused generation in history. The identity politics industry sees this as a bad thing, since it means the end is nigh for the influence racial screeds and discriminatory policies.

 

We should all be encouraged that the next generation of leaders is embracing MLK’s colorblind dream — equal treatment for all.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

This Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom have an excellent op-ed in WSJ explaining why we should celebrate the results as a “truly heartening American success story.”

 

There has been a significant amount of talk this year about the supposed resegregation of schools. (As the Thernstroms point out, a school counts as “segregated” simply if various minority groups constitute a majority of the student body.) The reality is that Brown did its job. It struck a decisive blow at the Jim Crow South and ended the government-sanctioned practice of separating children in schools based on skin color.

 

Today’s conversation about school segregation takes a disturbing turn back to pre-Brown thinking. While no one advocates for separation based on race, many argue that students should be sorted based on ethnic background in order to ensure that schools maintain the correct racial balance in schools. The DOJ has even gone as far as to insist that discipline must be distributed proportionately to every racial group.

 

This is absurd, and it highlights the perennial temptation to treat people as representatives of homogeneous identity groups instead of unique individuals.

 

I join the Thernstroms in celebrating the results of Brown. We should seek to find real solutions to the problems that ail public schools today, instead of imposing the stale, skin-deep thinking of the past.

 

- Jennifer Gratz