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PHONE: (313) 593-5644
DATE: Sept. 8, 2004

UM-Dearborn's Mardigian Library to host diversity exhibit

DEARBORN---The University of Michigan-Dearborn will host an exhibit "A Case About Diversity: The Affirmative Action Lawsuits at the University of Michigan" Saturday, Sept. 11 through Monday, Sept. 27.

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will take place on the first floor of the campus's Mardigian Library.

"A Case About Diversity" is based on the award-winning exhibit "Views and Voices," which was on display at the U-M Ann Arbor campus following the historic U.S. Supreme Court decisions in two affirmative action lawsuits brought against the University. The multi-media exhibit featured photo images and text in panels designed to present both sides of the cases. One case was brought by two undergraduate applicants and the other by a Law School applicant. The plaintiffs maintained that they were discriminated against because the University considers race as one of many factors in the admissions process.

The exhibit has now been re-designed as a traveling educational presentation aimed at a general audience--by students from U-M Ann Arbor's Museum Studies Program and the School of Art and Design, supervised by Dennis Miller, associate professor, School of Art and Design.

They conducted audience surveys as a means of determining whether or not the story being told by the original exhibit was clear, appropriate and accessible. Based on this feedback, faculty and students from the School of Art and Design produced the new version of the exhibit. The exhibit's panels depict the history of diversity at the University leading to the affirmative action cases, and actions taken by the University to ensure and expand diversity on campus. They also place the U-M lawsuits in a national, historical context.

To coincide with the exhibit, Marvin Krislov, U-M vice president and general counsel, will present a discussion on the University's recent Supreme Court affirmative action case from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15 in Room 1210 of UM-Dearborn's Mardigian Library. Krislov is responsible for the University's legal affairs, including establishing goals and strategies, and serves as senior legal counsel to the Regents, the University's administration and units. He also manages the University's relationships with outside counsel.

In both of the affirmative action cases the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the principle that gives colleges and universities the freedom to consider race as one of many factors in admissions decisions. The Law School admissions process was upheld in its entirety. In the undergraduate case, the Court found that the University's admissions process, which used a point system to help select students, was not narrowly tailored to achieve the goal of diversity and therefore was unconstitutional, insofar as a specific number of points was awarded to members of particular minority groups. As a result, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions developed a new process that involves a more individualized, holistic review and does not use points.

The exhibit is organized by the University of Michigan and funded in part by the Ford Foundation, Butzel Long and the University of Michigan.

For more information, contact Teague Orblych, librarian in the Mardigian Library, at (313) 593-5562.

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