The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Michigan Students Warn of Proposal 2's Consequences for Colleges and Universities
Feature Story by Tyler Lewis - 10/30/2006College students on nine Michigan campuses held events October 18, National Take Affirmative Action Day (NTAAD), to inform students in the state of the potential consequences of Proposal 2, a ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to eliminate affirmative action and equal opportunity initiatives in higher education, employment, and contracting.
"Students will play a major part in determining whether Michigan continues to offer equal access to opportunity on all levels," said Brandon Jessup, President of Youth and College Division, Michigan State Conference NAACP. "We are encouraging all voters to be educated about the consequences of Proposal 2."
The weeklong events in Michigan were the run up to election day, November 7, when Michigan voters will vote on Proposal 2. Michigan students canvassed; held rallies, marches, panel discussions, and debates; created voter guides with information on Proposal 2, made t-shirts, and held candlelight vigils.
At some schools, students used dramatic tactics to highlight the detrimental effects Proposal 2 would have on Michigan colleges and universities. At the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, students held a funeral for affirmative action. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Central Michigan University minority and female students wore gags to symbolize what college campuses would be like without them there.
"At U of M, we realized that many students either didn't know about Proposal 2 or were confused by the misleading language," said Rachel Tanner, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor student leader with Students Supporting Affirmative Action. "Our goal was to have a week's worth of activities where we could educate and reach as many students as possible through different mediums including classes, rallies, and discussions."
Grand Valley State University hosted a high-profile debate on Proposal 2. "It was really important for us to address misconceptions that some students have about affirmative action while educating them about the inequities that still exist on our campus and in our state," said Danielle DeRuiter-Williams, president of the Multi-Racial Student Association at Grand Valley State University. "We want them to have a more complete picture of what's at stake with Proposal 2."
NTAAD is sponsored annually by the United States Student Association (USSA), NAACP Youth & College Division, and Americans for a Fair Chance/Student Activist Network (a project of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund). It is a way for students nationwide to show their support for affirmative action, especially recruitment and retention of women and minority students on campus.
The student events were also part of One United Michigan's (OUM) efforts to educate students and the broader community about the impact of Proposal 2. OUM is a diverse coalition of more than 200 Michigan organizations representing women's groups, educators, business groups, racial and ethnic minority groups, and labor. It has conducted a public education campaign to inform Michigan voters how Proposal 2 would roll back progress in the state.
Participating Michigan campuses include: Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.
Fifty-six colleges and universities in 16 states held NTAAD events this year.