Latest Libertarian Party press release:

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Washington DC 20037
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For release: April 4, 2003
For additional information: George Getz, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 333-0008

Colleges with race-based admissions policies should quit taking federal funds, Libertarians say

WASHINGTON — The University of Michigan and other schools that discriminate by race should reject federal funds rather than hope for the Supreme Court to uphold their admissions policies, the Libertarian Party says.

“Most Americans find racial discrimination repugnant — and that’s exactly why they shouldn’t have to subsidize it,” said Geoffrey Neale, Libertarian Party national chair. “If the University of Michigan insists on keeping its race-based policy, it should forgo federal money.”

In arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, the University of Michigan insisted that its undergraduate and law schools should be able to consider race as a criteria for student admissions.

Currently, undergraduate applicants who are African-American, Latino or Native American receive an automatic 20-point bonus on the school’s 150-point “selection index.” The law school gives such students special consideration to ensure that there is a “critical mass” of minorities in each class.

The court’s decision, expected by July, could have a profound impact on colleges around the country, because most accept some form of federal aid — and federal law forbids racial discrimination by institutions that receive federal money.

But regardless of what the court decides, Libertarians are suggesting a free-market solution that should satisfy both sides of the debate: Use only voluntary contributions, rather than tax money, to fund colleges that employ racial favoritism.

“Americans who believe that individuals should be awarded bonus points because of their race could demonstrate that by attending schools such as the University of Michigan or contributing to its endowment,” Neale said. “Instead of arguing their case before nine members of the Supreme Court, they could argue it before the 280 million individuals in the court of public opinion.

“If they succeed, they’ll reap the rewards of the free market and never need another tax subsidy.

“Meanwhile, opponents of racial quotas could simply seek out schools with color-blind admissions policies rather than resorting to lawsuits.”

And while state-sponsored quotas are intended to help minorities, they end up promoting racial divisiveness instead, which harms them in the end, Libertarians say.

“According to the Washington Post, hundreds of demonstrators led by Jesse Jackson marched outside the Supreme Court during the hearing, chanting slogans and urging the court to uphold the Michigan policy,” Neale noted.

“Interestingly, you don’t see hundreds of angry protesters marching outside private schools to demand admittance, and one reason is that those schools aren’t being funded with tax money. By steering clear of government funding, private schools steer clear of conflict and controversy as well.”

Unfortunately, that lesson hasn’t been learned yet at the University of Michigan, Neale pointed out.

“There’s a better solution than hoping the Supreme Court will do the right thing,” Neale said. “University officials should immediately announce that they will quit accepting public money. It’s time for every tax-funded university to quit discriminating against its own students.”

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The Libertarian Party
2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100 voice: 202-333-0008
Washington DC 20037 fax: 202-333-0072

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