Originally published March 14, 2012
Proposal 2 and the Michigan law regarding the consideration of race and gender for college admissions were back on the table last week as a 15-member panel for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reexamined the constitutionality of the law.
Present at the courthouse in Cincinnati, Ohio, were a number of students from the University of Michigan, which has seen a decrease in minority representation since the passing of Proposal 2, according to university reports.
Although the University of Michigan has been fighting to revoke the law, Grand Valley State University administrators said the potential ability to base university acceptance on race or gender would not affect its admissions process at all.
Lynn Blue, vice provost and dean of Academic Services and Information Technology, said the GVSU admissions office would not consider race or gender because it never did to begin with.
“Even pre-Proposal 2, GVSU did not use race or gender as a preferential factor in its admissions (e.g. no points given to minority/female applicants towards an admission threshold),” said Dwight Hamilton, assistant vice president of inclusion and equity.
Hamilton said no changes were made to the admissions process with the passing of the proposal.
However, in a 2008 online message regarding Proposal 2, President Thomas J. Haas said the proposal posed a challenge to GVSU as it looked to create a diverse learning environment.
Matt McLogan, vice president of university relations, confirmed that it had an adverse effect on minority enrollment soon after its passing despite having had no effect on the admissions process. “We have worked hard on recruitment and other programs to enhance diversity at Grand Valley,” McLogan said. “In the first couple of years after Prop 2, diversity numbers dropped but have since largely recovered.”
The biggest change the university faced was in its distribution of financial aid, which could no longer be awarded based on race or gender.
“We did have some scholarships and grants that were race- or gender-based,” Blue said. “They were evaluated, modified to be more inclusive or eliminated.”
Director of Admissions Jodi Chycinski said the financial aid change and elimination of some scholarships caused the university to reconsider its recruitment methods and devise new ways to draw in a diverse student body.
“Scholarships certainly are a way to attract students to an institution,” Chycinski said. “Because of where we’re located and because we were a relatively young institution [at the time], losing the scholarships meant we had to go back and evaluate how we were going to attract [minority] students.”
As McLogan said, diversity at GVSU has recovered and increased over the years and is still sought by administrators.
“Our mission and values and commitment to diversity have not changed,” Haas wrote in his message. “A diverse environment is essential in promoting the values of this liberal education for the shaping of intellect, creativity, and intercultural competence. At Grand Valley diversity is a learning resource and must be nurtured as an intellectual asset.”
The admissions office at GVSU still promotes diversity, but in other ways and using other distinguishing factors to evaluate candidates.
“We believe that our educational mission is significantly enhanced by admitting a diverse student party,” Hamilton said. “Our admission process is, by design and practice, individualized, considering academic credentials, interests and activities, personal commitment and drive, schools attended, geographic diversity, family history, economic and educational background, among other factors to achieve a diverse student body.”
For more information on GVSU’s stance on Proposal 2, visit the website at http://www.gvsu.edu/proposal2.
Original publication: http://www.lanthorn.com/article/2012/03/gv_policies_will_not_change_if_prop_2_overturned