ASU Students make voices heard on affirmative action - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ASU Students make voices heard on affirmative action

April 1, 2003
Albany -  Albany State University student
 Mario Davis doesn't know if he's ever benefitted from affirmitive action.  But he does know people who have.

"I'm sure if it hasn't benefitted me, it's benefitted my parents and some friends of mine and some other people in a lot of ways," said 23-year-old Davis, Tuesday, surrounded by fellow students cheering for affirmative action near campus gates.

That's true for many Albany State students, and that's why they rallied outside their campus Tuesday.

 "We wanted to make sure our stance was made known to the Albany community," said Davis, also the vice presdient of ASU's Student Government Association.

 At the same time, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments against an admissions policy at the University of Michigan.

 "We've taken a group of students, all of whom are highly qualified and we've made difficult choices to build a class that's diverse in many many different ways," said Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan,  from outside on the Supreme Court steps.

 The case involves three white students rejected by the University of Michigan in the mid 90's, despite excellent grades. They argue an admissions policy gave minority undergraduate and law school applicants extra credit, an unfair advantage.

"Diversity is about your character and your experience. Its not about your skin color," said Jennifer Gratz, an undergraduate applicant at Michigan.

 But here at ASU, these students believe in affirmative action, and they say sometimes it's important to make some noise.

 "Writing letters and staying behind close doors a lot is not always the right measure, so you have to get out and voice your opinion," Davis said. "And if it takes public marches or protest, it might be a good idea."

And in turn, they hope to make more people understand.

 "A lot of people have a misconception," said SGA President Tremaine Reese. "They think that affirmative action is only for African Americans, which is not true."

The demonstrators said it's important for them to show today's leaders how the feel about important issues, because they're the leaders of tomorrow.

posted at 11:55 p.m. on April 1 by brannon.stewart@walb.com