E-Mail Barrage Urged U. of Michigan to Comply With New Ban on Preferences

January 05, 2007

The University of Michigan’s president, Mary Sue Coleman, and other officials there were barraged with e-mail last fall urging them to comply with a new amendment to the state’s Constitution banning the use of affirmative-action preferences by public colleges and other state agencies, The Ann Arbor News reported today.

The newspaper used the state’s open-records law to obtain e-mail received by Ms. Coleman and the university’s eight regents in the three days after the November 7 elections, in which voters overwhelmingly approved Proposal 2, the ban on preferences. The university produced records of about 500 e-mail messages — more than it has received on any other issue — with about two out of three calling for compliance with Proposal 2, the newspaper said. Many of the messages expressed anger over Ms. Coleman’s suggestion, in a speech given the day after the election, that the university might look for ways to fight enforcement of the ban. Some threatened to withhold donations.

Since then, Ms. Coleman has softened her tone, and university officials have said they will comply with the measure and not try to fight it in court. The university has, however, sought a delay in the enforcement of the policy, a move that prompted a lawsuit this week.